Steelers defense close to impressive feat

December, 29, 2012
12/29/12
8:30
AM ET
There won't be any celebrating for the Steelers after Sunday's season finale, but the defense is close to an impressive accomplishment.

The Steelers can become the sixth defense in NFL history to finish the season as the top-ranked defense against the run and pass. Pittsburgh would become only the second defense to record this accomplishment in 37 years and the first since the 1991 Eagles.

Through 15 games, the Steelers rank first against the pass and second against the run. The Buccaneers have allowed 57 fewer yards on the ground this season than Pittsburgh.

In comparison, the 1991 Eagles sent five players to the Pro Bowl: defensive ends Reggie White and Clyde Simmons; defensive tackle Jerome Brown; linebacker Seth Joyner; and cornerback Eric Allen. The 2012 Steelers defense currently has no one going to the Pro Bowl.

The Pittsburgh defense has ranked No. 1 overall for the past eight weeks, which is amazing when you consider the injuries this season. Five starters on defense have been sidelined this season: Troy Polamalu (nine games missed), Ryan Clark (one game), Ike Taylor (three games), James Harrison (three games) and LaMarr Woodley (three games).

This run of success despite the number of injuries shows how valuable defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is to the Steelers.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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