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Steelers notebook: Cutting down turnovers, sacks hasn't led to victories

| Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, 10:21 p.m.

The Steelers were badly troubled by sacks (15) and turnovers (11) while going 0-4, two problems that have lessened as the season has progressed.

“That hasn't been without obstacles, injuries and significant lineup changes, so we've been able to overcome a bunch of that and continue to make progress,” offensive coordinator Todd Haley said. “It hasn't translated to wins, which this is all about, but I think there's been enough increase in production in most areas to feel good about what the guys are doing.”

Since their winless start, the Steelers have eight turnovers and 25 sacks allowed in nine games.

• When Jason Worilds lines up on the left side, his pass rushing productivity of 12.7 is the fourth-best among NFL 3-4 outside linebackers with at least 100 pass rushes, according to Pro Football Focus' grading system. When he lines up on the right side, his 8.6 rating is below average.

• Tackling skills appear to be eroding in the NFL, and the lack of in-season contact work during practice often is blamed. But, according to defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, there might be another reason. “With all these spread offenses … they're all speed and skill guys, and everybody that touches the ball — sometimes it makes it look you're not trying to tackle him,” he said. “(But) I'm not trying to make excuses.”

Ike Taylor said the Steelers defensive players talk constantly about the 11 plays of 50 yards or more they've allowed — two fewer than the other three AFC North teams combined. “It's just one of those years,” he said. “We don't like it. It's new territory. I really can't explain it. It's just happening. … I think two years ago we had only two big plays.”

• Wide receiver Antonio Brown on why the Steelers are 5-8: “When you're saying if and would've and could've, those are things that don't (translate) into winning. We've got to be better.”

• Upon further review, the NFL's official statisticians, Elias, did not award Ben Roethlisberger his first career catch for positive yardage Sunday. He was given 5 receiving yards for his role in the final-play lateral, but because there can be only one catch per play, he was not credited with a reception. He had one for minus-7 yards on a deflected pass in 2008.

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