There are still questions about who will be defensive player MVP. The only thing for sure is that in spite of the efforts of the commissioner, it should be a Steeler—maybe even two Steelers sharing the award.
The Steelers defense is ranked fourth in the league. The pass defense is ranked first, giving up a miserly 60.1 rushing yards per game. Yes, the defense ranks 23 versus the pass, but the good news is the J-E-T-S are coming to town. And it is time to pad the pass defense statistics.
This Sunday Heinz Field welcomes the swagger and bravado of the Jets, Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez.
Sanchez, the California boy who has 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for 2010. Sanchez, who last week against Miami had 44 attempts, 17 completions, 216 yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 fumble lost, 1 interception and 6 sacks. Mark Sanchez, who looked bewildered, bedazzled and beguiled the entire game—was he also continually fighting back tears?
Mark Sanchez, let me introduce you to my little friends Troy Polamalu and James Harrison. These two have a combined 11 sacks, 8 interceptions and 7 forced fumbles. Troy Polamalu and James Harrison, who anchor a defense that gives up 60.1 rushing yards per game—a defense that will dare you to throw the ball and challenge Ike Taylor who currently can show you his impressive stats, holding his own with 56 tackles, 1 sack, 2 interceptions and 1 forced fumble.
While I admit I am sometimes confused that this defense is 23rd against the pass, I must admit the vision of Mark Sanchez coming to Pittsburgh this week gives me glimpses of hope that this is the weekend that we will move up in the statistical column for pass defenses. It is said that Sanchez plays worse in the cold being a warm weather California boy.
But last year in the playoffs against Cincinnati, the temperature was 29 degrees, 9 degrees with the wind chill. Sanchez amassed one touchdown, completing 12-of-15 passes with a passer rating of 139.4. He led the Jets to a solid 24-14 victory against a team that (little did we know) was giving the world a preview of the upcoming season, lackluster and underachieving.
Nevertheless, the Steelers are peaking, the Jets are flailing. Santonio Holmes is coming back to town, Ike Taylor will be there to greet him. LT is making his first round of the amazing LT comeback tour, Lamar Woodley and James Farrior have front row seats.
This is the game that springs the Steelers into the postseason. This is the game that begins to dispel the nasty notions of fourth quarter meltdowns. This is the game where we begin to believe again.
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