A season ago, no Steelers defender reached double-digits in sacks for the first time since 2007. This season, it will take a strong finish for a Steelers defender to reach the nine sacks LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison notched a season ago in injury-shortened seasons. Both Woodley (ankle, hamstring) and Harrison (knee) have again missed time with injuries this season, and both have just four sacks in 10 games apiece, with Pittsburgh totaling 26 sacks in 13 contests — an output not in line with the production of other stout and standout Pittsburgh defenses of recent vintage.
The good news is that Harrison’s pass-rush production has begun to pick up in recent weeks, with one sack apiece in Weeks 11 through 13. Also, Woodley, whom we hear has played to his normal standard this year, was slated to return for the Week 15 game at Dallas, which gives the Steelers’ pass rush and run defense a lift, as defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau noted. Even without notching as many sacks as in recent seasons, the Steelers are still exceptionally stingy from a yards allowed standpoint. If both Harrison and Woodley both get into top form in the final weeks, it would be a boon to a defense dealing with some injury issues in the secondary, with CBs Ike Taylor and Cortez Allen hurting.