October 2, 2011 Leave a comment
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive struggles continued in Week 4 against the surprising Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium.
This year the Steelers’ usually dependable defense isn’t blaming their pass defense for their inability to slow the Texans, but the rushing yards the Texans picked up were the difference in their 17-10 win over the reigning AFC Champions.
Coming into the season many questioned whether or not the Steelers’ aging defense would be ready to come in and make another run at the Lombardi Trophy. Pittsburgh’s linebacker core, led by James Harrison, 33, and James Farrior, 36, have shown some signs of aging in the first four games of the season.
Last season the Steelers rush defense held their opponents to an average of 62.6 rushing yards per game throughout the season. This year’s defensive woes have allowed their opponents to rush for an average of 99.3 yards on the ground through the first three weeks and allowed Houston’s Arian Foster to run for 155 yards, which will surely bump up the average on the year.
Before the Steelers faced the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1, they had only allowed only one 100-yard rusher in their previous 50 games. This year the “Steel Curtain” has already allowed two 100-yard rushers as well as giving up 86 yards to Joseph Addai and the Indianapolis Colts in Week 3.
The switch on the defensive end has turned the 12th best passing defense into the league’s best passing defense but has also left the Steelers at a mediocre 2-2 in this young season. Coincidently, the Steelers have lost both games in which they allowed the opposing back to rush over 100 yards.
The Steelers’ are going to have to figure out how to get back to their “hit-you-in-the-mouth” style of defense if they hope to make a run at the Super Bowl. But first they have to make sure they can get into the playoffs.