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Defense still searching for 1st interception

| Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Steelers fullback Will Johnson runs against the Jets on Sunday. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)
The Steelers' Ryan Clark breaks up a second quarter pass intended for the Jets' Stephen Hill at Heinz Field Sept. 16, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review

The Steelers proved last season that numbers often are overrated.

They led the AFC in pass defense (171.9 yards per game) but had only 11 interceptions. Only five conference teams had fewer picks. In contrast, New England led the AFC with 23.

The Steelers committed to being more aggressive this season, and they recorded five interceptions in the preseason. They haven't been nearly as aggressive during the regular season, partly because safeties Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu have yet to play together and still are looking for their first interception.

“Everybody wants to get an interception because it's a game-changing play,” said cornerback Keenan Lewis said. “We're going to make our share of plays. We've to find a way to make (Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer) put that ball up so we can make our share of plays.”

All in the game

Cornerback Ike Taylor has been preparing for the Raiders all season — on “Madden NFL 13.”

“I play with the Raiders on ‘Madden,' so I know what kind of team they have. I like that team,” Taylor said. “They have three receivers who can fly. When they get it together, it's going to be (trouble) for a whole lot of people.”

— Ralph N. Paulk

NUMBERS

184.5 Passing yards per game the Steelers are allowing (second in AFC)

324.5 Passing yards per game by the Oakland offense (first in AFC)

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