Search your soul, look into your heart and minds SteelerNation and you'll see it was true. The #1 overall defense in statistics but on the field it was a different story. Credit the #1 defense ranking to the Steelers playing teams like the Rams, Browns, Chiefs, and Bengals. Not exactly the kind of offenses that put up 30 or 40 points in a week. You expect them to play well against Quarterbacks like Clemens, McCoy, and Dalton. Teams that also have a lack luster running game, so you expect the Steelers defense to stop that run.
Has the secondary improved, sure they have. Ike Taylor had his best year but had his worst game today. Will Gay was probably the most improved player on the team but he looked like the guy we saw last year at times today. Ryan Clark not being in the game was a bigger loss than we would have liked to think. Ryan Mundy is a capable, solid, Safety and he made some plays today, including 4 Tackles and 2 Forced Fumbles. However in a situation where Ike Taylor was probably expecting help, on the last play Mundy was as out of position as Taylor was.
The injuries on the front 7 were ultimately too much to overcome. You came into this game already behind the 8 ball all year long after losing Aaron Smith early in the year. They managed to step up to the challenge but then Casey Hampton goes down, Brett Keisel goes down and you end up with 3 healthy defensive lineman to play the last 2 1/2 quarters of the game. The standard may be the standard, but those guys were sucking wind in the 4th quarter and just not able to generate any pass rush.
Lamarr Woodley split time with Jason Worilds to ease him back into action after missing 2 months worth of play with that hamstring. Timmons played well today, but both James Farrior and Larry Foote were unable to keep up and generate any rush much less cover the middle of the field consistently.
You hate to say it, hate to admit it but the truth is the Steelers defense was exposed at various times during the year and today in epic fashion.