It is no secret that the biggest problem for the Pittsburgh Steelers defense is something that they once were the best in the league at stopping. Now it seems offensive coordinators have finally solved the mystery that has plagued them over the last eight seasons, which is running the football on the Steelers.
The last time the Steelers were out of the top five in rushing defense was in 2003, and that was the only time in the last decade that the Steelers struggled to stop the run. While the strength of the defense is and always has been stopping the run, they have been abysmal in that area so far in 2011.
The front three aren't gobbling up enough blockers as they have done in the past, which is not freeing up the linebackers to attack ball carriers.
It's pretty astounding to go back and watch the four games so far and see how teams seem to be blocking the Steelers differently. The concept of zone blocking is working on the Steelers as they have not found a way to prevent top backs and offensive lineman from getting the best of them. So far as a result both Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens and Arian Foster of the Houston Texans have victimized the Steelers for 100 yards games and now the Steelers head into week five looking to face another very dangerous running back in Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans. Despite Johnson missing all of training camp due to a contract quarrel, he can be another thorn in the Steelers side.
The brain trust of the Steelers must figure out how to alter this current trend and get back to stopping the run as they have done in the past. If they do not figure this problem out soon their season could be vanishing right before their eyes.
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