View Full Version : Who has league's No. 1 defense?

11-11-2007, 01:25 AM

Patriots, Colts, no and no ... Try the Steelers

Sunday, November 11, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Peter Diana / Post-Gazette

As a four-time Pro Bowl player, as a Super Bowl MVP, as he bears down on the final Steelers receiving records not yet his, it takes a lot to impress Hines Ward.

Last Sunday night ranked among them. Ward sat on the dais that displayed the living, breathing members of the all-time Steelers team at their 75th Season gala. He gathered with an offense that included Lynn Swann, John Stallworth and Franco Harris. He could look to his right and see Joe Greene, Jack Ham and Mel Blount. All Hall of Famers, all from the same team.

Ward wondered who might win a game if that offense could play that defense.

"You take those two and play each other, it would be hard to pick,'' Ward said. "I can't answer that, but that's something I would love to see."

What he can do is take a look at the current Steelers defense because they're imitating some of their defenses of the past.

The Steelers defense ranks No. 1 in the NFL as they prepare to move into the second half of their season today when they play the surprising Cleveland Browns (5-3) at Heinz Field at 1 p.m.

It's familiar territory for their defenses, which finished first in the NFL in 2004 and 2001 and has been in the league's top 10 in each of the previous seven seasons.

This defense of Dick LeBeau has taken it to new extremes, and if it continues on its half-season path will rank not only among the franchise's best but do something few

defenses have done in the NFL over the past 30 years.

The Steelers lead the league in points allowed with 98, on pace to allow 196. Only a handful of teams have given up fewer than 200 points in a season since the NFL expanded its schedule to 16 games in 1978, including the Steelers Super Bowl champs of that year at 195.

Tampa Bay, where Mike Tomlin served as secondary coach, was the last to do it when the Bucs allowed 196 in 2002 and won a Super Bowl. The great Baltimore defense of 2000 allowed just 165 points and won a Super Bowl. The Ravens that year upset the Titans in the playoffs after Tennessee allowed just 191 points that season.

No other NFL team had allowed fewer than 200 points between those teams and the famous Chicago Bears defenses of 1985 (198 and a Super Bowl win) and 1986 (187).

Perhaps the current names aren't as famous as those from even the Blitzburgh defenses of the 1990s, but the group of Troy Polamalu, Casey Hampton, Aaron Smith, James Farrior and their newest star, James Harrison, are playing just as well if not better.

The NFL's stingiest of them all

"You look on paper and you see some of the defenses we had and you look on paper and compare them to the defense we have now," Ward suggested. "It's kind of hard to compare when you have Greg Lloyd, Rod Woodson and all those guys. We don't have a lot of big name guys on our team but we have a solid defense."

That defense will be tested again today against a Browns offense ranked No. 4 in the league, one that can throw offensive standouts named Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow and Jamal Lewis at the Steelers.

Would this Steelers defense rank among the team's better ones, at least post-Steel Curtain?

"It would be hard to compare, but it's definitely up there with them,'' Aaron Smith said.

"You can't say that because there are only eight games in,'' linebacker Larry Foote said. "A lot can happen."

For sure. The Steelers must play at New England Dec. 9, which if all holds true will feature the NFL's No. 1 offense vs. its No. 1 defense. But they also play four of the more impotent offenses in the league -- the Dolphins, Jets, Ravens and Jaguars.

Nose tackle Chris Hoke, who has been part of the defense since 2001, said the scheme isn't much different under LeBeau today than it was then.

"It's pretty much the same defense as it was under Tim Lewis,'' said Hoke of the coordinator who preceded LeBeau. "For the most part, the base defense is the same. Every year we add a couple new blitzes, but the defenses we run the majority of the time are the same ones we ran when I was a rookie."

And LeBeau scoffs at all the talk that his defense plays more cover 2 this season. He said his defenses have always run plenty of cover 2, a two-deep safety style Tomlin favored when in Tampa and last year as the Vikings coordinator.

Cleveland's Edwards said what impresses him most about this Steelers defense is its energy.

"You guys are playing with a lot of excitement, a lot of energy and a lot of love and enjoyment for the game. For the defense, they just get guys off the field. That is their whole mentality ... That is what their strength is. They get guys three and out. They get them off the field. They get their defense off the field. They keep their defense rested and they put the ball in the offense's hand quite a bit and they have a good offense.

"The more you do that, the more you demean a team until they give up."

11-11-2007, 05:56 AM
Awesome article........ Its part of what STEELER Football is all about!!!!!!!

11-11-2007, 10:03 AM
We all knew this years defense had the potential to be something really special but I'm not sure any of us could have predicted that they would be this dominant early on. There are bigger tests right around the corner as we play better teams down the stretch so we'll need everything they got and then some but so far our D is kickin *** and taking names and I love it ! Harrison has stepped up, Farrior is rejuvinated, Taylor is playing very vell, the DL is getting pressure, everyone is really attacking and getting after the ball carrier.

11-11-2007, 10:44 AM
I think it will be difficult to stay under 200 points for the season. If we hold the Patriots under 30 I would consider that a success for our defense. No other teams have had much success holding the Pats to under 30. Lets say we hold the Patriots to 24 points and escape with a win. That would mean we would have to hold the other 7 teams under 76 points combined. That would be extremely difficult to do! Yes, some of the teams we play do have horribly ineffecient offenses, but to hold 7 NFL teams to an average score of 7.6 points per game seems a bit of a stretch. Would love to see it happen but I certainly wouldn't bet any money on it.

11-11-2007, 11:05 AM
Im not sure I'd bet money on that stat either but it's fun to dream :lol: As long as we come out with atleast 1 point more than the other team each week when it's all said and done, we're on the right track ;)

So far our guys really are playing with a passion and aggression that we didn't see last year and one that was definitely evident during the SB run 2 years ago.

11-11-2007, 11:33 AM
So far our guys really are playing with a passion and aggression that we didn't see last year and one that was definitely evident during the SB run 2 years ago.

Thats hitting the nail on the head.

The SB year (IMO) the D really didn't stand out until their backs were against the wall. But this year.. it reminds me of that SB year when the D was playing lights out.

Its a thing of beauty when its firing on all cylinders. Hopefully we can sustain it, the offense and the special teams for the last half of the season.

11-11-2007, 01:19 PM
nice find. The steelers are an amazing defense. Fewest points given up so far this year :tt02:

11-11-2007, 04:35 PM
Not the best D anymore

11-11-2007, 04:37 PM
Dude what are you talking about ! We completely shut them down in the 2nd half. They didn't have a 1st down in the 2nd half until the 4th quarter. The first half was deceptively all Browns but they weren't dominating we just gave them cheap **** with the ST and turnover by Ben. THeir initial drive they blew right through us but after that they had the big return and the pick so they got good field position. Still though we should have played better but credit them in the 2nd half for making a statment.

Our defense is a HUGE reason we won today.

K Train
11-11-2007, 04:41 PM
defense dominated today

11-11-2007, 09:13 PM
The defense played pretty well today. It's a little decieving since the Clowns scored 21 in the 1st half, but think of how they got those. The D did a spectacular job in the 2nd half!!!!

BlacknGold Bleeder
11-11-2007, 11:46 PM
The brownies thought it was only a 30 minute game, they didn't realize that there was another 30 involved. All they did was **** off the Defense in the first half and then they paid the price in the 2nd half....

NEWSFLASH for the clowns...it's a 60 minute game and if you are playing in our world ya better be ready !!!

11-12-2007, 07:20 AM
defense dominated today

Thats what I like about K Train right to the point...........and the fact he loves to call Davenport Dookie.

Really I thought our D done a fine job the ST left them on the short side of the field and they still proved they could hang. We played smart

11-12-2007, 08:12 PM
Is it just me or does it sound like Braylon Edwards would love to be a Stiller? I for one(a Michigan fan), would love that! Imagine the O then.....:banana:

K Train
11-12-2007, 08:31 PM
**** edwards

K Train
11-12-2007, 08:38 PM

#1 in all categories now

11-14-2007, 09:11 PM
The article was written before the Browns game.


New England’s opponents have averaged 24.85 PPG in their other contests – 8.52 PPG more than they’ve scored against the Patriots (16.33).
Pittsburgh’s opponents have averaged 20.41 PPG in their other contests – 8.16 PPG game more than they scored against Pittsburgh (12.25).

Updated after the Browns game.

Steelers opponents have scored 1520 points in 72 games, for an average of 21.1 points per game. The Steelers have allowed 14 ppg this season. The Steelers adjusted defensive differential is -7.1 ppg, so their defense is 7.1 points better than the average team against the same opponents.

Patriots opponents have scored 1755 points in 72 games, for an average of 24.4 points per game. The Patriots have allowed 16.3 ppg this season. The Patriots adjusted defensive differential is -8.1 ppg, so their defense is 8.1 points better than the average team against the same opponents.

Irish Jet
11-15-2007, 07:53 PM
Pittsburghs D IMO is by far and away the best in the league. The best move Tomlin made with you guys IMO was keeping LeBaeu as D Co-ordinator and leaving the 3-4 D the way it was.

11-15-2007, 08:03 PM
Pittsburghs D IMO is by far and away the best in the league. The best move Tomlin made with you guys IMO was keeping LeBaeu as D Co-ordinator and leaving the 3-4 D the way it was.

I agree 100%. Not only did Tomlin keep LeBeau, he has given him more freedom to run the D his way.

Irish Jet
11-15-2007, 08:13 PM
I agree 100%. Not only did Tomlin keep LeBeau, he has given him more freedom to run the D his way.

I had to admit I was very surprised when he did. I fully expected Tomlin to implement his own 4-3 scheme from Minnesota. It was a great move on his part.