Defense is the Steelers biggest problem

The Steelers defense stinks. They’re not getting takeaways. The defensive backs have zero ball skills. 

Dropped INT’s by Hilton and Sean Davis were costly in the Oakland game. Davis’ crushing blow on Joe Haden didn’t help against the Chargers.

Cam Heyward was on with the DVE Morning Show today and he talked about fundamentals needing to be better. And one thing he was clear in saying is that if you’re playing man to man defense, you can’t allow free releases and you can’t allow inside release. 

That’s something that has been happening consistently and it really was noticeable in the way they defended Cook in the Raiders game.

They’re giving up 23.5 points per game, 30 points per game on the road, and they’re not closing teams out.

When they need a sack in the crucial moments of the game, they simply can’t get one. Which is disturbing considering the sack totals that they’ve been able to rack up.

In Denver the Steelers were up 17-10. The defense went out onto the field and got burnt by Emmanuel Sanders on two plays for a touchdown.

After the Conner fumble, it’s 11 plays and 79 yards for a TD. The 3rd and 4th quarter defense absolutely pooped the bed.

The Steelers were up 23-7 on the Chargers. Then LA goes 13 plays 88 yards for a TD. Then 7 plays, 79 yards for a TD. Then 11 plays and 64 yards for the game winning field goal..

They fail in crucial moments. They're unable to hold onto leads. They're not able to make the splash play. Whether it’s a sack or a pick or a stop. It hasn't been happening.

--The Raiders were averaging 18 points per game coming into the Steelers contest and scored on their last two drives of the game. 14 plays and 74 yards for a TD. 8 plays and 75 yards for a TD.

We can spend all week talking about Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger and who’s fault it was that Ben wasn’t in the game earlier than he was.

Or we can recognize that while it was a problem, it’s one that’s unlikely to reoccur. It doesn’t make it less maddening. It cost the Steelers the game and maybe a post-season berth and that’s troubling.

But the habitual problem with this Steelers team is that they simply aren’t good enough at all on defense.

The inside linebackers aren’t good. L.J. Fort couldn’t get on the field last year after Shazier and Matekevich were hurt. That’s a terrible sign. They’re playing him now like he’s Jack Hamm.

Morgan Burnett hasn’t been good enough. Sean Davis has regressed down the stretch. Coty Sensebaugh is just a guy.

In a league of bad defenses, the Steelers defense has been worse in the critical moments in each of the last three football games.

Turnovers are bad.

Clock management is bad.

Special teams are bad. 

It's the defense, though, that's holding the Steelers back from being a contender. 

Adam Crowley

Adam Crowley

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