Troy Polamalu Proves that Pittsburgh's Problem Was in Him Not Playing

Nick SignorelliSenior Writer IOctober 19, 2009

PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 16:  Troy Polamalu #43 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on during the game against the Buffalo Bills on September 16, 2007 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers won 26-3. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

After the injury to Troy Polamalu against the Tennessee Titans in Week One of the regular season, the Steelers suffered an identity crisis.

Sure, for the first three quarters of the game, they played like the Steelers. We did not see the elaborate blitz packages, but they still shut down the run. Then in the fourth quarters of game, something happened.

The Steelers stopped playing like the Steelers.

In Chicago, the Steelers took the lead into the fourth quarter, only to have Jay Cutler throw a touchdown pass with less than :30 seconds left in the game for the Bears victory. The following week in Cincinnati, Carson Palmer did the same thing.

When the Steelers played the Chargers in Week Four, the Steelers led by 20 points, before almost blowing the large lead at the end. And even the Detroit Lions had late success against the defending Super Bowl Champions.

Now, some people were saying that this was because the Steelers defense was getting old. Others, me included, said it was because of the play calling by Dick LeBeau, because Polamalu was not it.

Say what you want about the Cleveland Browns, but they are still a rivalry game, and every time they play the Steelers, they are doing everything they can to beat them. This last fourth quarter, there was no come back.

The Steelers defense actually played like the Steelers defense is supposed to until the end of the game. They did not stop applying pressure, they did not drop the safety to prevent only the long pass. They played Steelers football.

And once again, the Steelers finished off the Browns. No late game heroics, no defensive let down, no fourth quarter heart aches in Pittsburgh.

Troy Polamalu is back, long flowing hair and all, and so is the Steelers defense.