It may have taken awhile, but the Pittsburgh Steelers big-play defense finally seemed to be back in form Sunday afternoon in Heinz Field. After taking hits for allowing two fourth quarter comebacks in weeks two and three this season, the Steelers D was back to form Sunday, stopping the Vikings with a pair of huge fourth quarter plays in a 27-17 win to move to 5-2.
“It’s going to help our defense build a lot more confidence,” inside linebacker James Farrior said. “Hopefully, we can get back to how we used to play.”
It was the first time since 1998 that the defense had scored two TD’s in a game. They needed both of them, as the first made it 20-10, the second sealed the win to make it 27-17. Both came as the Vikings were driving for what could have been the tying or even the go-ahead score.
The first was Brett Keisel getting a strip on Brett Favre, and LB LaMarr Woodley picked it up and rumbled 77 yards for a score. The second came with the game on the line as the Vikings were at the Steelers 18 down just 20-17 with just over a minute left. A screen pass bounced off the hands of Chester Taylor and right to LB Keyaron Fox, who took it 82 yards for the score that clinched the win.
“I thought about running out of bounds and letting the offense run (the clock) out,” Fox said. “Then I said, I can’t turn down this opportunity to be the hero. So I took full advantage.”
As did the defense, which played that classic “bend but don’t break” type of game Sunday. The Vikings had more yards, and controlled the time of possession, but it was those key plays that put the nail in the Vikings undefeated coffin. “You put 14 points on the board defensively,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said, “(and) you can overcome a lot of errors.”
The Steelers are now ready to look at the film, and right any wrongs before they go to Denver after next weeks bye week for another stiff test. For now though, the defense showed they will not go quietly, even more so when the game is on the line with a play to be made.