Steelers Defense Hope to Slow Down Run Once Again

SteelersWire.com

By: Jonathan Clark
SteelerNation.com

 

The Pittsburgh Steelers will go into the Week 11 against the Jacksonville Jaguars as a heavy favorite to win the football contest. The Steelers have started out the season in historic fashion at 9-0 on the path to winning the Lombardi trophy, where on the other side, the Jaguars are on the complete opposite side. They are coming off an impressive performance against the (7-2) Green Bay Packers where they lost 24-20, but have started off the 2020 campaign at 1-8. While many would see Pittsburgh running away with this one, there is some talk about this being a “trap game,” and the reason for that has been Jacksonville’s running game.

In the last three contests, our beloved Steelers defense has come up short in the running game, something that was not expected. After starting off the season hot, the Steelers have given up an average of 182 rushing yards per game, including 139 yards last week against the Cincinnati Bengals. Despite this, we still rank top 10 in the league in rushing defense throughout this year, so it’s hard to say our rushing defense has been an issue — it’s just something that needs to get cleaned up if this team wants to continue to win football games. 

This week, we go into enemy territory and are off to Jacksonville for a 1 pm EST kickoff on Sunday where this might be a tougher test than we think. Yes, I believe our offense will take care of business and I don’t see them stopping us on that side of the ball, but it is our defense that is going to need to step up once again. Jacksonville is represented by the 5th leading rusher in the NFL at the moment, and that is RB James Robinson. In 155 rushing attempts this year, he has totaled 689 yards for 5 touchdowns. Robinson is coming off just about three straight 100-yard rushing performances (he had 99 against the Texans) and has been on fire to start the season. With rookie QB Jake Luton being under center for the Jags, many believe they will lean heavily on the running game in hopes of making this contest on Sunday a close game. 

 

 

With a rookie QB, as seen last week, many teams like to apply pressure by blitzing the QB, forcing him to make quick/tough decisions in the clutch, in hopes that the wrong one is made. The Steelers did exactly that last week against rookie QB Joe Burrow and we all saw how that turned out. I’d like to think the game plan is the same this week. Pressure the rookie QB forcing him to make contested throws and trying to win the turnover game. The biggest test is finding a balance between the two. How do you stop the run effectively but also apply consistent pressure to the QB throughout the entire game? It’s a tough test, one that this team is up for. 

 

 

We have too many great players and leaders on this defense to let this rushing defense keep diminishing. With players like Cam Heyward, T.J. Watt, Stephon Tuitt, Bud Dupree and Vince Williams filling the gaps for us, it’s hard to imagine a world where this team doesn’t flip that switch quickly, and it could start as soon as this week. 

 

How many rushing yards will James Robinson and the Jaguars have this week? Comment below!

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