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Steelers

Steelers' success on defense a total-team effort

Jerry DiPaola
| Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2004

Steelers outside linebacker Joey Porter made an interesting observation after the Steelers manhandled the Washington Redskins' offense.

"You don't have to do anything spectacular in this defense," Porter said.

Maybe that's true. A total of 13 players in the NFL have more sacks than the Steelers' leaders in that department, Porter and defensive end Aaron Smith (seven).

But everyone must do everything well, and that is what has helped the team ascend to No. 1 in the NFL in overall and rushing yards allowed (244.2 and 75.4) for the first time this season. Plus, no team has more sacks than the Steelers' 36, a total achieved after 11 players have recorded at least one.

"The best defense you can have is a good pass rush," strong safety Troy Polamalu said. "And that's what we live on."

The Steelers are slightly short of a pace that would end up breaking the team sacks record of 55 set in 1994 and 2001. But they continually force the quarterback to throw the football before he's ready. Redskins quarterback Patrick Ramsey was the latest victim, coming out of the 16-7 Steelers victory with a meager passer rating of 63.1.

"Throughout the game, we made them throw some balls in the dirt," Porter said, "just because there was pressure. Our pressure was too good for him."

Porter agreed that the Steelers' defense is playing more aggressively under coordinator Dick LeBeau

"Yeah, we go at them a lot," Porter said. "This is a good group we have here. We have guys doing the things that LeBeau wants to do."

"I think everyone is unselfish," said linebacker Clark Haggans, who is second on the team with five sacks. "Everyone knows their job."

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