The Pittsburgh Steelers improved to 10-0 with a dominant win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Due to their shutdown performance in the game, the Steelers defense has taken over or maintained their league lead in several defensive categories. Coming into the year, the Steelers offense was the concern. Based on the 2019 season, there was confidence in the Steelers defense to perform well again this year. So far, though, they have been even better, and the team as a whole is reaping the benefits of having such a dominant defense.
Steelers Defense Leads Various Statistics
As has been the case basically the entire season, the Steelers lead the league in almost all statistics relating to their defensive front. In many of these statistics, the second place team isn’t even all that close. The Steelers have 38 sacks, four ahead of the next closest team. They’re well on their way to leading the NFL in sacks for a fourth consecutive season. Quarterback hits are more of the same. Pittsburgh has totaled 99 this year, 18 more than the second place Baltimore Ravens. T.J. Watt, Stephon Tuitt and company sure know how to get after the opposing quarterbacks.
It’s not just quarterback hits and sacks, though. The Steelers defense has racked up 137 total pressures this year, with the second place Tampa Bay Buccaneers having 110. Even when they aren’t getting home, Pittsburgh’s defensive front knows how to be disruptive in the passing game. Though they come from more than the defensive front, tackles for loss can be lumped in with this group of statistics as well. Pittsburgh is tied with Tampa Bay for the league lead with 68 tackles for loss. Watt and linebacker Vince Williams are tied for second in the league in individual tackles for loss as well. Whether it’s on quarterbacks or running backs, the Steelers defense knows how to cause problems in the backfield.
Earlier in the year, the Steelers were elite against the run but was giving up far too many big plays in the passing game. That trend is starting to reverse course, as they now lead the league in numerous pass defense statistics. A strong showing against the Jaguars was the major statistical catalyst. After recording four interceptions in the game, the Steelers now have 15 on the year, one more than the Buccaneers (who had three interceptions themselves in Week 11).
Adjusted net yards per passing attempt is one of the most all-encompassing stats out there on a passing defense. It considers passing yards, pass attempts, sacks, sack yardage, interceptions, and passing touchdowns. The Steelers moved their number down to 4.3 following the Jaguars game, now the best in the league. Quarterback rating is another category where the Steelers have a big lead. They’re allowing a quarterback rating of 71.8, while the second place Los Angeles Rams are allowing a 78.6 quarterback rating. Finally, there is completion percentage. Quarterbacks are completing just 54.8% of their passes against the Steelers. In second place are the Chicago Bears, who are allowing a 61.1 completion percentage.
Steelers Defense Has Been Mostly Dominant
They definitely haven’t been perfect this year. At times, the defense has suffered major lapses that have resulted in too many big plays. But over the course of 10 games, the Steelers defense has been pretty much dominant. They lead the league in so many defensive categories, many of which there isn’t even a close second. Having the best defensive front in the league surely has helped. When opposing quarterbacks don’t even have time to think, let alone throw, it becomes much easier for the secondary to make plays. If they continue to win games, the Steelers will do so thanks to their defense. And if they really keep winning, we might get to see them match up with the electric Kansas City Chiefs offense. That’s a game we all want to see.
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