As predicted, the Pittsburgh Steelers have turned things around, riding a three-game win streak into Monday night’s matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Much of that is due large in part to the Steelers defense, which has turned things around after a slow start.
However, while the Steelers seems to have things figured out, there’s still one thing missing- the turnover.
Forcing turnovers has been absent from the Steelers’ defense since the 2010 campaign. Last season, the black-and-gold forced only 15 opposing turnovers in 16 games and this season they aren’t on a great pace either, forcing only eight in their 5-3 start to the season.
That could all change Monday night.
The 1-7 Kansas City Chiefs haven’t held a lead this season in regulation, which is pretty hard to do. The main reason for that is the fact that they love to give the football away, turning it over an NFL-high 29 times through eight games.
There are only three teams in football worse at taking the ball away than the Steelers, but Matt Cassel and this Chiefs team likes to make it easy on opposing defenses. That, parlayed with the fact that it’s Monday Night Football in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers don’t lose, and this is a golden opportunity for the Steelers’ defense to get back to making big plays.
The Steelers are a career 23-5 at home on Monday night’s and they have never lost at home at Heinz Field (6-0). As a matter of fact, they have won 14 straight Monday night games at home and you have to go back to October 1991 against the New York Giants to find the last time a Steelers team didn’t take care of business at home on a Monday night.
That’s not likely to change this Monday, but this is still a big game for this defense to start making big plays. They have not scored a defensive touchdown in two years and with the likes of Baltimore coming up twice beginning the following Sunday, it would be nice to see big plays start coming more frequently from this unit.
The Steelers have had a very soft schedule this season, and other than the two games against the Ravens, there isn’t much remaining to get excited about as the six remaining opponents left on the Steelers’ schedule have a combined 15-35 record (as of Sunday’s games).
But that won’t be the case in the playoffs as this defense will have to make big plays for the Steelers to make a lengthy run.
Given the bad teams they will play the rest of the season, the opportunity for big plays will be there.
There’s no better time than Monday night to get started on that path.