The Pittsburgh Steelers are 6-3 through nine weeks of football and despite the decent record there is an element that has been lacking on the defensive side of the ball since the beginning of the season. That element is the Steelers inability to force turnovers, which is very odd considering they were amongst the league leaders in that category just a year ago. What has changed from 2010 to the present on the defensive side of the ball?
The 2010 Steelers won the AFC crown and a big reason for that was their defenses ability to force turnovers. They were able to intercept 21 passes and come up with 14 fumble recoveries a year ago on their road to the Super Bowl. They also forced 24 fumbles a year ago. The opportunistic defense forced problems and caused turnovers to come their way. However just a year later the defense is at the bottom of the league in the takeaway department.
So far this season the Steelers have taken the ball away from opponents just four turnovers through nine games, which is two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. They have only forced six fumbles so far this year and only managed to get the ball to roll their way two of them. Other than that this defense has not done as they did in the past, which was create opportunities for their offense by having them turn the turnovers into points on the board.
While the Steelers have been very fortunate in jumping out to six wins, they do need their defense to provide a lot more pressure which forces quarterbacks to make unwise decisions. Some may say that the defense simply hasn't gotten their share of the bounces, others would reply that they aren't being as agile and aggressive as they have been in the past.
Troy Polamalu hasn't really been his regular self this year as he's dropped a few sure interceptions and sometimes has been a split second too late in grabbing a potential loose ball. Not only has Polamalu not created opportunities neither have the rest of the secondary so far this year. Linebackers also aren't making turnovers happen as often, which has to improve.
As the Steelers march on in this season they will need their impact defensive players to step up and make things happen. All good teams find ways to create magic and so far this defense has failed to do that this season. It's possibly only a matter of time before things start to happen, however just four turnovers in 10 games is a problem that has to be resolved sooner than later.
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