That game when Ben got hurt killed all our chances. It was just too much to overcome.
When I hear posters bang on our pass defense on the idea that we played sub par QB's all year, I think that's crap.If our pass defense was really as bogus as some are saying, they couldn't have played as well as they did against Brady.
The Steeler way...is the only way.
A couple of points.
First, our expectations are kind of high. We remember the Steelers D of the 70's, 90's, and early 2000's with a kind of reverence for the way they dominated the passing game. However, the NFL has changed over the last decade or so as pass happy offenses dominate. Holding an opposing QB to 200 yards is a much greater feat than it was a decade ago. A 300 yard passing game is no longer being "torched."
Second, sacks were down considerably last year (35?). LeBeau's pass defense is predicated on getting pressure to the QB. That they ended up number 1 is downright miraculous.
Finally, I am not buying the "we played crappy QBs last year" argument. A bunch of other teams also played the Jags, Colts, etc., and did not end up number 1. Also, a 12-4 team plays with the lead a lot. That means a lot of passing from opponents. Finally, that most teams didn't even bother to run on us. Again, more passing.
Are there better SECONDARIES in the NFL? Absolutely, but pass defense is not all DBs and we belonged near the top because our D does play the pass well as a unit.
If Haley can get our offense to play lights out and score like the top teams score. All these small details of defense and offense will be long forgotten.
Believe me when I say that I am not claiming the QBs the Steelers faced were all the second coming of Unitas.
However, it was not as bad as you are making it out to be. For instance, you included Andy Dalton (twice) on the list. He played on a playoff team and was in the middle of the NFL pack in passing yards (something like 3400 yards). For comparisons sake, Ben threw for 2600 yards his rookie season in 14 games. Dalton scores out to an average NFL QB, hardly a symbol of ineptitude.
And, yes, the numbers would have been different if we had played Brady twice, Brees, E. Manning, and Rodgers but the same can be said about any D. It is not like we were an AFC south team that got to play against TJ Yates, Gabbert, and Painter twice each.
The Steelers have always played down to their competition, they probably always will. I hate that about them but it's what happens every year. For guys like Dalton, I'm not convinced he's the second coming of anyone. He's going to be a solid QB but he's never going to be a Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Peyton, or Roethlisberger. As for Weedon, we have no idea what to expect but the guy is old enough to be more mature in the pocket, you would think even for a rookie.
Some credit has to go to the QB's themselves when they face the Steelers, sometimes they just make good plays. How much of that is them though and how much is the defense just not always on their game against what is perceived as lesser competition?
I think the secondary is one of those units that people love to hate because they're not perfect and will never be perfect. I think a position in the secondary is the hardest position to play in football...granted I have never played football, but it's just my opinion. If you're waiting for the secondary to hold opposing offenses to under 200 yards passing every game, you're not gonna have a good time.
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