Throughout the illustrious history of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the pass rush has played a prominent role in the success of the black and gold, which includes six Super Bowl championships, 24 division championships, 33 playoff appearances, and eight conference championships.
From the likes of “Mean” Joe” Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Ernie Holmes and Dwight White on the Steel Curtain, to names like Greg Lloyd, Kevin Greene, James Harrison, Joey Porter, Jason Gildon, Bud Dupree, Cameron Hayward, T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, the pass rush has been a focal point for the Steelers time and time again each season on the gridiron.
That’s no different this season, even if the pass rush has’t been as prolific after being without the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Watt for seven games this season.
With the front seven featuring Watt, Highsmith, Heyward and the likes of Larry Ogunjobi, Chris Wormley and more healthy, the pass rush is starting to become a problem for opposing offenses once again. Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, in his 15th season in charge of the Ravens, is well-versed in how difficult the Steelers’ pass rush is to deal with.
Speaking with reporters earlier in the week, Harbaugh praised the Steelers pass rush and spike highly of just how much of a factor the pass rush will be Sunday.
“The pass rush, it’s always been a staple for them; it’s a trademark for the Steelers. Whether it’s coming off the edge, coming inside, the guys you’re talking about,” Harbaugh stated to reporters, according to Steelers.com. “You didn’t mention T.J. Watt – he’s pretty good, too. They bring their linebackers, their nickel is going to blitz off the edge, they’re going to bring (Terrell) Edmunds off the edge, (Minkah) Fitzpatrick shows up. All those guys are a factor in the pass rush, for sure.”
The pass rush certainly is a staple for the black and gold. When you think of some of the all-time greats in Steelers history, they happen to reside on the defensive side of the football and got after the quarterback in a big, big way. When it comes to winning games throughout their history, the pass rush has played a huge role.
While the pass rush this season hasn’t been as prolific as it has been in the past decade or so, it is still going to be a problem for the Ravens on Sunday. Harbaugh knows that and is preparing for the Steelers to bring guys from all over the place, though the Steelers aren’t blitzing often, blitzing at just a 22% rate — good for 18th in the league, according to Sports Info Solutions.
Facing off against backup quarterback Tyler Huntley on Sunday, the Steelers will have to get after the backup in a hurry on Sunday in an effort to disrupt what the Ravens are trying to do offensively. A strong pass rush will be the key for the Steelers Sunday in yet another episode of the heated rivalry.