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.
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.
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.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!