In the late 2000's, the Steelers saw James Harrison win the NFL defensive player of the year honor in 2008 and Troy Polamalu win the award in 2010.
Minkah Fitzpatrick and T.J. Watt are doing their best Harrison and Polamalu impressions in 2019.
Mike Tomlin's defense had its way with the Rams yesterday. Watt and Fitzpatrick led the way. Watt had two sacks, a forced fumble, and drew a key holding penalty late in the first half. Fitzpatrick had a fumble return for a touchdown and the interception that sealed the win for the Steelers.
Minkah and T.J. have the Steelers playing the best defense that they have in nearly a decade.
In 2008, James Harrison had 16 sacks and 19 QB hits in 15 games. Already, T.J. Watt has 22 QB hits and 9.5 sacks in 9 games.
In 2010, Troy Polamalu had 7 INT's, 1 defensive touchdown, and 1 FF in 14 games. Already, Minkah Fitzpatrick has 5 INT's, 2 defensive touchdowns, and 2 FF's in 9 games.
The Steelers defense is turning back the clock. Not to the days of the Steel Curtain, but to the days when it had two defensive player of the year candidates/winners roaming the field.
It's not a coincidence that this defense is winning games with Fitzpatrick and Watt playing the way that they are. They both belong in the defensive player of the year conversation.