While the offense has been nothing short of spectacular over the course of the last two preseason games, there’s something that has been an issue with the Steelers, and it’s an issue that needs to be corrected in a hurry.
Sure against the Eagles the Steelers D came out looking for blood, and they found it. Coming off an awful showing the week before against the Redskins, the team made it a long night for superstar QB Michael Vick, picking him off three times.
Last night against the Falcons, the team put up gaudy numbers on offense, but the Falcons offense led by Matt Ryan, who for some reason threw the ball 42 times in a half, also at times seemed to march up and down the field against the usual awesome Steelers D.
So what gives?
The Falcons had 266 yards in the half, nearly matching the 276 yards the Steelers gave up in an entire game in 2010.
“I think they would have run a lot more than what they did, but if you have something that was working, and it was working for them, I don’t see what you need to change it for,” LB James Harrison said.
Getting off the field on third downs seems to be a major issue for the Steelers, both in the regular season and the playoffs. Everyone seems to know that the way to beat the Steelers D is to throw, throw, and throw some more. It seems to be a plan that a lot of teams are going to try to use in 2011.
“I’d like to see us get off more consistently on third down defensively, put more consistent pressure on the quarterback and have tighter coverage in the secondary,” coach Mike Tomlin said.
Troy Polamalu has at times looked solid in preseason, but remember he’s coming off an injury that made him look very normal in last years playoffs. The LB core is as good as ever, and right now the secondary is without Ike Taylor, who has a broken finger but should be back for the opener vs the Ravens.
“We have to be closer and challenge more potential catches,” Tomlin said. “But that’s just looking at it from a knee-jerk reaction.”
Knee jerk or not, the Steelers D needs to do a better job, or the issues that have haunted them thus far in the preseason may rear their heads again starting September 11th in Baltimore.