Defense dominates again

PITTSBURGH – Between the return of the game's opening kickoff and the first snap by the Buffalo Bills, each of the Steelers' defensive players hugged each other.

That's 11 times 11, or 121 hugs.

And with all that love, they went out and ripped the heart from another offense.

The Steelers allowed 223 yards – or two more than a week ago – and only a field goal in their 26-3 win Sunday over the Buffalo Bills.

In two games, the Steelers have allowed 10 points and only 23 first downs. And it's not like they're rolling over chumps. The Steelers' Game One opponent put up 51 points yesterday.

What's going on?

"I just think the guys are playing hard, they're playing fast and they're playing together," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "I know that that sounds very simple but that's just the nature of defensive football. We're dictating what happens on the field and we're not allowing offenses to dictate to us. When you do those things you've got a chance to be very good."

This defense has more going for it than hard, fast and cohesive. There's genuine love out there. The biggest and perhaps the baddest of them all isn't laughing at the concept.

"We genuinely enjoy being around each other," said defensive end Aaron Smith.

"The big thing is when we go out there we play for each other. It's nice when you're on defense and someone's playing their butt off for you and they're going to get your back no matter what happens. It makes it real easy to go out there and play. Then you don't feel so isolated sometimes. You know your boys are coming to help you."

One player was felled just before halftime and his boys couldn't help. They could only stand around as James Harrison – arguably the team's best pass-rusher – was taken from the field as a precaution against a neck injury. Harrison squabbled with the paramedics, telling them he was fine, and then he appeared on the sideline in the second half in full uniform hoping to play.

"He might have slashed their tires so they couldn't get him to the hospital or something, but I'm glad he's okay," said linebacker Clark Haggans. "Whatever's mangled in the ambulance, I'm sure they can fix it and repair it."

Tomlin confirmed that Harrison ran head-first into Casey Hampton's rear end on his final play, but couldn't confirm that was how he was injured. No one could deny, though, that when Harrison was on the field, he consistently threatened the quarterback off the edge.

"People don't understand how strong and fast he really is," said Smith. "They wouldn't have let Joey (Porter) go if they didn't think Silver(back) could get the job done."

Bills rookie Marshawn Lynch surprised the Steelers with his mix of power and speed early in the game, but the Steelers held him to 43 yards on 14 carries over the final three quarters. He finished with 64 yards on 18 carries. The Bills' other offensive threat, wide receiver Lee Evans, caught two passes for only 17 yards. The Bills didn't turn the ball over, but were unsuccessful on three fourth-down plays. J.P. Losman was sacked four times, giving the Steelers 10 in two games.

"I think the whole coaching staff is putting together a collective input," said Haggans. "They're just sharing their input and trying to put us in the best situations that we can possibly be in and try to accent everybody's attributes on defense."


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\r\n\r\nThat's 11 times 11, or 121 hugs.

\r\nAnd with all that love, they went out and ripped the heart from another offense.

\r\nThe Steelers allowed 223 yards – or two more than a week ago – and only a field goal in their 26-3 win Sunday over the Buffalo Bills.

\r\nIn two games, the Steelers have allowed 10 points and only 23 first downs. And it's not like they're rolling over chumps. The Steelers' Game One opponent put up 51 points yesterday.

\r\nWhat's going on?

\r\n\"I just think the guys are playing hard, they're playing fast and they're playing together,\" said Coach Mike Tomlin. \"I know that that sounds very simple but that's just the nature of defensive football. We're dictating what happens on the field and we're not allowing offenses to dictate to us. When you do those things you've got a chance to be very good.\"

\r\nThis defense has more going for it than hard, fast and cohesive. There's genuine love out there. The biggest and perhaps the baddest of them all isn't laughing at the concept.

\r\n\"We genuinely enjoy being around each other,\" said defensive end Aaron Smith.

\r\n\"The big thing is when we go out there we play for each other. It's nice when you're on defense and someone's playing their butt off for you and they're going to get your back no matter what happens. It makes it real easy to go out there and play. Then you don't feel so isolated sometimes. You know your boys are coming to help you.\"

\r\nOne player was felled just before halftime and his boys couldn't help. They could only stand around as James Harrison – arguably the team's best pass-rusher – was taken from the field as a precaution against a neck injury. Harrison squabbled with the paramedics, telling them he was fine, and then he appeared on the sideline in the second half in full uniform hoping to play.

\r\n\r\n\"He might have slashed their tires so they couldn't get him to the hospital or something, but I'm glad he's okay,\" said linebacker Clark Haggans. \"Whatever's mangled in the ambulance, I'm sure they can fix it and repair it.\"

\r\n\r\nTomlin confirmed that Harrison ran head-first into Casey Hampton's rear end on his final play, but couldn't confirm that was how he was injured. No one could deny, though, that when Harrison was on the field, he consistently threatened the quarterback off the edge.

\r\n\r\n\"People don't understand how strong and fast he really is,\" said Smith. \"They wouldn't have let Joey (Porter) go if they didn't think Silver(back) could get the job done.\"

\r\n\r\nBills rookie Marshawn Lynch surprised the Steelers with his mix of power and speed early in the game, but the Steelers held him to 43 yards on 14 carries over the final three quarters. He finished with 64 yards on 18 carries. The Bills' other offensive threat, wide receiver Lee Evans, caught two passes for only 17 yards.\r\nThe Bills didn't turn the ball over, but were unsuccessful on three fourth-down plays. J.P. Losman was sacked four times, giving the Steelers 10 in two games.

\r\n\"I think the whole coaching staff is putting together a collective input,\" said Haggans. \"They're just sharing their input and trying to put us in the best situations that we can possibly be in and try to accent everybody's attributes on defense.\"\r\n","mobileBody":" That's 11 times 11, or 121 hugs.

And with all that love, they went out and ripped the heart from another offense.

The Steelers allowed 223 yards – or two more than a week ago – and only a field goal in their 26-3 win Sunday over the Buffalo Bills.

In two games, the Steelers have allowed 10 points and only 23 first downs. And it's not like they're rolling over chumps. The Steelers' Game One opponent put up 51 points yesterday.

What's going on?

\"I just think the guys are playing hard, they're playing fast and they're playing together,\" said Coach Mike Tomlin. \"I know that that sounds very simple but that's just the nature of defensive football. We're dictating what happens on the field and we're not allowing offenses to dictate to us. When you do those things you've got a chance to be very good.\"

This defense has more going for it than hard, fast and cohesive. There's genuine love out there. The biggest and perhaps the baddest of them all isn't laughing at the concept.

\"We genuinely enjoy being around each other,\" said defensive end Aaron Smith.

\"The big thing is when we go out there we play for each other. It's nice when you're on defense and someone's playing their butt off for you and they're going to get your back no matter what happens. It makes it real easy to go out there and play. Then you don't feel so isolated sometimes. You know your boys are coming to help you.\"

One player was felled just before halftime and his boys couldn't help. They could only stand around as James Harrison – arguably the team's best pass-rusher – was taken from the field as a precaution against a neck injury. Harrison squabbled with the paramedics, telling them he was fine, and then he appeared on the sideline in the second half in full uniform hoping to play.

\"He might have slashed their tires so they couldn't get him to the hospital or something, but I'm glad he's okay,\" said linebacker Clark Haggans. \"Whatever's mangled in the ambulance, I'm sure they can fix it and repair it.\"

Tomlin confirmed that Harrison ran head-first into Casey Hampton's rear end on his final play, but couldn't confirm that was how he was injured. No one could deny, though, that when Harrison was on the field, he consistently threatened the quarterback off the edge.

\"People don't understand how strong and fast he really is,\" said Smith. \"They wouldn't have let Joey (Porter) go if they didn't think Silver(back) could get the job done.\"

Bills rookie Marshawn Lynch surprised the Steelers with his mix of power and speed early in the game, but the Steelers held him to 43 yards on 14 carries over the final three quarters. He finished with 64 yards on 18 carries. The Bills' other offensive threat, wide receiver Lee Evans, caught two passes for only 17 yards. The Bills didn't turn the ball over, but were unsuccessful on three fourth-down plays. J.P. Losman was sacked four times, giving the Steelers 10 in two games.

\"I think the whole coaching staff is putting together a collective input,\" said Haggans. \"They're just sharing their input and trying to put us in the best situations that we can possibly be in and try to accent everybody's attributes on defense.\" ","skipOnMobile":false,"media":[],"dateOverride":"2007-09-16T15:35:00","authorOverride":"Jim Wexell","role":"SteelCityInsider.com","isPremium":true,"isHotNews":false,"isRumor":false,"syndicationFlag":true,"isClassified":true,"hotNamesLinked":true,"storyImage":"[MEDIA:475238]","mainImage":{},"thumbnailImage":"[THUMBNAIL:475238]","heroImage":{},"authorImage":"","tags":[{"id":"182","name":"Pittsburgh 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