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Pittsburgh Steelers Back on Track, Win Turnover Battle Against New York Jets

Oct 13, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Ryan Clark (25) celebrates an interception with teammates during the second half against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. The Steelers won the game 19-6. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Curt PopejoyContributor IOctober 14, 2013

Sometimes the NFL is all about numbers. Here are some numbers to consider: The Pittsburgh Steelers had gone four-and-a-half games, 18 full quarters, or just over 270 minutes, without forcing a turnover.

Sep 22, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) fumbles the ball as he runs from Chicago Bears defensive end Corey Wootton (98) during the second half at Heinz Field. The Bears won the game, 40-23. Mandatory Credi
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

During that same span, the Steelers had given up the football nine times to their opponents, which contributed greatly to their 0-4 start. No team can expect to win very many football games when you hemorrhage the football and cannot force turnovers yourself.

But on Sunday, against the New York Jets, the Steelers finally found their groove. The offense played an efficient game, free from mistakes, and the defense did what all great Steelers defenses do: They got after the quarterback.

It is impossible to overstate just how big this was for the Steelers. For as poorly as the Steelers had played this season, it was easy to point to the lack of turnovers by the defense, as well as the excessive turnovers the offense had given up.

The goal of the Steelers defense was simple. The Jets are led by a rookie quarterback in Geno Smith and the Steelers coaches were able to exploit that. 

Oct 13, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (56) sacks New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers used a mix of pressures, disguised looks and put Smith under a nice steady dose of pressure. It wasn't a case of constant duress or just overpowering pass rushes. Instead, it was almost tactical, and when the Steelers did bring pressure, they executed.

For the offense, it's been all about getting players healthy. The return of tight end Heath Miller and running back Le'Veon Bell has been huge. Roethlisberger isn't forcing his throws and understands how he can count on his running game to keep defenses honest. 

Is this the type of turnaround that will right the ship for the entire season? That is hard to say, but rest assured that this sort of effort is what the Steelers and their fans expected from them all season, and will expect going forward.

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