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Yes, they are without their top linebacker. Yes, they demolished Blaine Gabbert almost every time Jacksonville had the football. No, they did not perform up to the standards that have been set by their talent and past performance.
There's one disturbing trend that has been part of the Pittsburgh defense for years now: their inability to get off the field on third downs.
They're frequently impossible to stop on first and second down, but once the marker shows "3," they suddenly fall to pieces. I'm not sure what the issue is, but it showed up again in the second half of the game this week.
Blaine Gabbert was running for his life early and often against a seemingly inspired defense. But that same defense allowed a lot of yards on third down, whether or not the Jaguars converted. That has got to stop. Allowing teams to extend drives is demoralizing, particularly on third and long, and keeps a lot of bad teams in games.
The Steelers defense has come a long way in two weeks, but they've still got plenty of work to do. Shoring up third downs needs to be at the top of that list.