4th quarter defense still a problem for Steelers

There were a lot of reasons why the Steelers lost a winnable game against New Orleans. We’ve already talked about it enough and we’re over it. But one part of Sunday night’s game is part of a disturbing trend that started last season – defensive lapses late in the game.

The Steelers made a habit of blowing leads in the 4th quarter last season and most of the issues were attributed to the absence of Troy Polamalu. However, 43 is healthy this season and teams are still moving the ball and scoring points against the Steelers in the 4th quarter. We saw this early in the season when teams like Tennessee and Tampa Bay were scoring garbage TDs late in the game. I mentioned then that it certainly wasn’t a big deal at that point in blowout games, but the Steelers would be wise not to make a habit out of it.

Sunday night in New Orleans, the Steelers surrendered 14 of the 20 points they allowed in the 4th quarter. On the season, the Steelers have allowed 102 points. 49 of those came in the 4th quarter. The defense has only allowed 9 points and no touchdowns in the 3rd quarter, by comparison.

Here’s a few charts looking at the points allowed by quarter in each game, total points allowed each game, and total points by quarter.

4th quarter points