Steelers' defense ranks No. 1 in NFL

November, 6, 2012
11/06/12
9:30
AM ET
While the rest of the AFC North's defenses have struggled this season, the Steelers have been the best in the division all season. Now, their defense is tops in the NFL.

The Steelers are allowing the fewest yards per game (262.6) in the league, which is nearly 9 fewer yards per game than all the other defenses in the league. The 49ers rank second with 271.4 yards given up per game.

Pittsburgh is coming off its most impressive defensive performance of the season. The Steelers held Giants quarterback Eli Manning to 125 passing yards, his fewest in 57 games. The Pittsburgh defense also shut down New York when it mattered the most, holding the usually clutch Giants to minus-9 yards in the fourth quarter.

The Steelers rank first in pass defense and seventh against the run. They have allowed 20.5 points, which is ninth in the NFL.

In Mike Tomlin’s first five years as head coach, he guided the Steelers’ defense to the NFL’s top ranking in total defense three times. Last season, Pittsburgh finished atop the NFL in defense, giving up 271.8 yards per game.

The other defenses in the AFC North all rank in the bottom half of the NFL: Cincinnati (20th), Cleveland (23rd) and Baltimore (26th).

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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