Too early for ranking to matter

Through three games the Steelers defense is ranked first in the NFL against the pass, but don't look for guys to be celebrating that early-season ranking.

"Right now it's doesn't mean anything," said cornerback Ike Taylor. "It's early. There is a lot of football left. Number one right now is nothing. It's early in the season."

That feeling is shared across the board by the secondary.

"It's definitely too early. You haven't had enough games to compile a number that is too big or too small," said safety Ryan Clark. "It's good to say we are starting off okay. It's big to start off well, and not be playing catch-up, which we aren't."

The Steelers have allowed only 164 yards passing per game so far, but face a Houston team this week that averages 262.7 yards in the air and Tennessee the following week with a 300.7-yard average

"We have had some good games, but we are going to start playing teams that pass the ball really well," said Clark. "It's already been a record-setting year for passes, passing yards, and points by offense. We know some teams will come in here with some high-octane offenses and we just need to slow them down."

Clark acknowledges that there is still work to do as a defense in general and more specifically with the secondary, including trying to generate some takeaways as the Steelers have yet to record an interception this season.

"We need to continue to work, get our hands on some more balls and affect the game in a different way other than stopping them and making them kick the ball," said Clark.


It's not something you will find on the Steelers stat sheet, but it's a stat that Mike Wallace and his fellow receivers have fun keeping track of.

It's called YAC, yards after catch. It's the yards receivers love to add on, turning a short catch into a potentially game-changing gain.

Wallace, along with Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, have a friendly competition to see who can rack up the most yards after catch.

"We try to see who has the most shakes and YACs," said Wallace. "I think I am blowing them out right now. They haven't shaken too many guys off. Emmanuel got one against the Seahawks, I got one this week. Antonio is the only one who hasn't shaken anyone off.

"But, I have the most YACs so I am blowing those guys out."

Wallace has been able to pile up those yards thanks to an expanded role in the passing game, particularly being the recipient of shorter pass routes.

"I have been catching some short screens and slants and getting the YACs," said Wallace. "Hopefully I can keep that going."

While he likes being a part of the short passing game, breaking free and catching a deep pass from Ben Roethlisberger is still his favorite play.

"I like the long bombs because they look a lot sweeter," said a smiling Wallace. "I like the short ones too. As long as I can get yards and touchdowns, I am fine either way."

Wallace recorded his sixth-straight regular season 100-yard game against the Colts last week, with five receptions for 144 yards. He was able to get open for an 81-yard touchdown pass in the game, and it might be a byproduct of teams underestimating his speed.

"I think he is one of the fastest guys in the league," said cornerback Bryant McFadden. "For us we know it, we play against him all of the time. We know what he can do. Guys see it on film and they say we see fast guys all of the time, but not Mike Wallace fast, and they don't respect it the way that they should until 70 yards later it's a touchdown. He is a super, super fast guy."


After Sunday's Colts game Trai Essex said he wasn't looking forward to getting into the film room with offensive line coach Sean Kugler and watching the cut-ups. But after doing so, it wasn't the horror film Essex thought it would be, referring to it as more of a "thriller" than a horror film.

"It wasn't as bad," said Essex. "You always overanalyze. It's never as good as you think it is, never as bad as you think. The stats can be a little misleading in the sense that we didn't run the ball, but we are one block away from breaking some big runs."

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