Jason Bridge-US PRESSWIRE
A major reason why the defense has struggled to be dominant this season is injuries to key starters.
Between Polamalu, Woodley and Harrison, the Steelers have missed their three best defensive players this season and as a result have been unable to consistently rush the quarterback, force turnovers and hold fourth quarter leads.
Statistically the unit has been good, ranking second in the league in yards and in the top third in points allowed, but they could be even better.
Once these three players are able to return to the field, the results should show, but the team cannot afford any more major injuries.
Ryan Clark has been one of the best defenders this season but suffered a concussion last week, leaving Will Allen and Ryan Mundy as the starters.
Both players are serviceable backups, but barely. Pittsburgh can’t afford to have either start for long periods of time without risking allowing big plays on defense.
Offensively, the team can only go as far as Roethlisberger carries them, and so far he has remained healthy.
As long as he can stay on the field along with the top receivers and Heath Miller, the offense should continue to be productive.
The offensive line has already suffered through a number of injuries and has been able to improve with backups moving into and out of the lineup.
Injuries to Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman could have slowed the ground game, but Jonathan Dwyer has stepped up his game and has even earned a starting job.
But while the Steelers have been able to get by without several starters in the lineup, they are a much better team when all hands are on deck and will welcome each player as they are able to return to the lineup.