Friday, September 21, 2007

100 isn't Steelers' defense's favorite number: The last 100-yard game against Pittsburgh was James' 124-yard effort for Indianapolis in a Monday night game on Nov. 28, 2005, or 27 games ago counting the playoffs. The regular-season streak is 23 games.

Dating from Johnson's 123-yard game for Cincinnati in the Steelers' 28-17 victory in Game 4 of the 2004 season, Pittsburgh has allowed only one 100-yard runner in 52 games -- or the equivalent of more than three NFL regular seasons.

Pittsburgh has a very stingy defense this year, having allowed 10 points all year (fewest in the league) and 222 yards per game (3rd-fewest). Now, the Steelers have always had an absurdly good run defense, but this doesn't always translate into defensive success. The 2002 Steelers allowed just 85 rushing yards per game, which was the best in the league.

The pass defense, by contrast, was as effective and as mobile as the Maginot Line. So bad was that pass defense that teams couldn't believe their luck: the Browns went down to defeat in the playoffs that year because they refused to throw the ball at the end of the game despite gaining over 400 passing yards. Last year's 21st-ranked secondary may again be the weakest link on a team that won a Super Bowl just two years ago and has outscored opponents 60-10 so far this year.

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