Why is the Steelers’ defense again one of the league’s best? Well, for starters, the defense might be on the older side, but it's a group that can collectively still play, without a doubt. One example: the secondary, which took its lumps early in the season, has picked up its game, with CBs Ike Taylor, Keenan Lewis and FS Ryan Clark really playing well, the way we hear it. Taylor and Clark, it must be noted, are two of the Steelers' seven regular starters who are older than 30.
The defense's surge is also a credit to defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, in the ninth season of his second stint as the Steelers' defensive leader. An NFL source who knows LeBeau and his defense well told PFW that two of the Hall of Famer’s strengths are knowing what his personnel does well and adding little wrinkles to his scheme each year. Viewed through that lens, perhaps it’s not a surprise that LeBeau’s defense, after something of a slow start, has begun to hit its stride.
There’s another factor that can’t be overlooked in the defense’s success: the offense. The Steelers have won the time-of-possession battle in the majority of their games this season. As one longtime observer noted, the more the Steelers’ offense thrives, the less the defense has to carry the day.