The Steelers Defense is Hungry

Mike Tomlin has the Steelers defense back up to an elite level. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

It looks as though the Pittsburgh Steelers defense is back to a Super Bowl caliber level.

This is the team that isn’t supposed to be talked about in a positive way right now. Right? They can’t win without Roethlisberger, can they? After all, they play the Falcons and Titans to open their season. They’ll be lucky to win one of those games!

Well, so much for all of the talk. The Steelers are mad.

They forced six turnovers against the Titans on Sunday and caused Vince Young to be benched after he threw two interceptions and fumbled once. Collins threw one interception, was sacked once and fumbled once. Chris Johnson fumbled once.

Just a quick note about the turnovers — I read that the Titans had seven turnovers, but I only counted six. That’s confusing.

The Steelers defense has been ferocious. They have shut down two of the top running backs in the game in the first two weeks. They held Michael Turner to 42 yards on 19 carries in Week 1 and they held Chris Johnson to 34 yards on 16 carries this week. That’s incredible. Johnson did have an 85-yard touchdown run negated by a holding call, but it still doesn’t change the fact that the Steelers shut him down.

Here’s a quick look at the Steelers’ stingy rush defense:

43 carries, 96 yards, 2.2 yards per carry, 0 TDs

Speaking of touchdowns, the Steelers didn’t allow their first TD of the season until the :58 mark in the 4th quarter. It would have been a 19-3 loss had the Titans not scored there. So technically that touchdown was in garbage time, but I can guarantee you that the Steelers were fighting just as hard to not allow the touchdown.

A healthy Troy Polamalu (not to mention healthy hair) is one of the reasons the Steelers defense has returned to dominance. (AP Photo/Procter & Gamble, Bob Riha Jr.)

This is the way Mike Tomlin’s defense played back in 2008 when it won the Super Bowl. Their passing defense hasn’t been nearly as outstanding as their run defense, but it hasn’t been that bad either. When you shut a teams running game down the way they are doing, then you don’t need your pass defense to be as dominant. It just needs to be good.

The Steelers are winning games with Dennis Dixon at quarterback, although it doesn’t matter who they play at quarterback right now. Though, now it’s fourth-string QB Charlie Batch lining up behind center with the knee injury to Dennis Dixon. It’s the same knee that he tore his ACL in while at Oregon. Tough break for Dixon. I feel for the kid.

Mike Tomlin is an intense guy. He’s not a guy you want to piss off, but that’s what has happened. This team is dangerous. They are my early AFC favorite to play in the Super Bowl at the moment.

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