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Whenever Joe Flacco has played the Steelers, he has turned the ball over multiple times and has been sacked at least four times. This was not the case Sunday as Flacco only got sacked once and turned the ball over once.
I think the major reason Flacco wasn't sacked a lot is because Dick LeBeau was not dialing up enough pressure.
I constantly saw four-man rushes with a fifth man coming occasionally, if at all. I know in a 3-4 defense a four-man rush is technically a blitz, but it was not enough to force Flacco into mistakes.
Getting pressure was the least of our problems. Poor tackling also contributed to the Ravens getting a good start early on.
James Farrior and Lawrence Timmons both missed tackles on Willis McGahee's touchdown run in the first half.
Penalties by the defense also aided the Ravens, giving them four first downs although some of them were questionable.
There were a lot of bright spots in the defense. Casey Hampton got his first sack of the season when he knocked the ball out of Flacco's hand before the Ravens recovered.
Troy Polamalu had another excellent game and got off to a great start by blowing up a running play behind the line for a 3-yard loss. He finished the day with four tackles.
Timmons did a nice job containing the running backs, although he did miss a few crucial tackles. On the other hand he made some crucial tackles that prevented a few potential big gains. Ray Rice didn't play much this game so Timmons was mainly shadowing McGahee. Timmons finished the game with 13 tackles.
Ike "Stone Hands" Taylor came up with a crucial interception around the Ravens' 30-yard line in the third quarter. You would have thought he was the receiver as he played the ball the whole time and made a nice catch over Derrick Mason. Taylor finished with six tackles.
James Harrison had a great all-around day as he had six tackles, drew two holding penalties, forced a fumble, and knocked McGahee out of the game.
Ryan Clark knocked Le'Ron McLain out of the game, forcing the Ravens had to go with Rice in the fourth quarter. Clark finished the day with nine tackles.
Overall the defense gets a B-. They did enough to win the game. The unit had an amazing goal-line stand in the final minutes of the game that should have ended it.
They only got one sack, but managed to force two turnovers. True they gave up the winning touchdown but weren't helped by the fact the offense failed to capitalize on turnovers, which in turn kept the defense on the field too long.
I think they didn't play as aggressive these last two games as they did the first two. I think that chip on their shoulder was gone once everyone started to favor them. They need to put it back on because Steelers fans will not stand for poor defense two years in a row.
Previous weeks: A++/ A-
Season average: B+