Staying together: The Steelers defense finished the year ranked fourth overall in the AFC, sixth in the NFL.
And to a man they all know the talent is there for them to improve on those numbers in 2019.
“I think we have a really good team, a talented team,” said Joe Haden. “The more we are together, the better we are going to be. Especially for the defense. I think we are going to be solid.”
Jonathan Bostic, who finished his first season in the black and gold after signing as a free agent last offseason, likes the mesh of guys that make the defense and hopes they stay together through the changes an offseason brings.
“I think we have a good group, guys that blend well with each other,” said Bostic. “It all comes together. The defense meshes well. I know the NFL changes all over the place but as much as we can keep the group together it will be important for us.”
The tightness of the unit is something that can’t be underestimated and helped them as the season wore on.
“This defense, we love each other,” said Mike Hilton. “And we know we are all there for each other.”
A look at the stats: While we all agree with Vince Williams' assessment of stats above. we are still giving you a look back at how the Steelers fared in 2018 in the AFC and NFL stats, including team rankings as well as where some individual players finished.
AFC: Total – 4; Rush – 3; Pass – 6
NFL: Total– 6; Rush – 6; Pass – 10
AFC: Total – 2; Rush – 16; Pass – 1
NFL: Total – 4; Rush – 31; Pass – 2
Ben Roethlisberger lead the AFC and NFL with 5,129 passing yards as well as pass attempts and completions, and was the sixth-ranked passer in the AFC and 15th in the NFL based on quarterback rating. Roethlisberger finished the season with a 96.5 rating.
James Conner was tied for fifth in the AFC and 11th in the NFL in rushing yards with 973 on 215 carries. His 12 rushing touchdowns were tied for first in the AFC and tied for third in the NFL. Conner was third in the AFC and 10th in the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 1,470 yards.
JuJu Smith-Schuster finished second in the AFC and tied for sixth in the NFL with 111 receptions for 1,426 yards, which was third in the AFC and fifth in the NFL. Smith-Schuster was fifth in the AFC and 12th in the NFL with 1,439 yards from scrimmage.
Antonio Brown finished third in the AFC and ninth in the NFL with 103 receptions for 1,297 yards, good for fifth in the AFC and 11th in the NFL. Brown’s 15 receiving touchdowns led the AFC. Brown was also the AFC’s leading scorer (not including kickers) with 90 points and ranked fourth in the NFL but led all receivers in the league in the category. Brown was eighth in the AFC with 1,297 yards from scrimmage.
T.J. Watt finished tied for fifth in the AFC and tied for eighth in the NFL with 13 sacks.