One of the main reasons the Steelers drafted outside linebacker T.J. Watt in the first round was to become less reliant on the blitz. Getting pressure on the quarterback with four players and dropping seven into coverage is the preferred way to play on defense for obvious reasons. It allows seven players to drop into coverage and the defense is less susceptible to giving up big plays.

The Steelers haven’t totally abandoned their Blitzburgh ways. Defensive coordinator Keith Butler still will dial up the occasional blitz, but the ability of the outside linebackers and defensive ends to create pressure with four-man rushes is a big part of the defensive resurgence.

The Steelers are first in the league in pass defense and second in total defense and sacks. They had four more sacks against the Bengals for a total of 24 entering Sunday night’s game in Detroit. They’re on pace for 55, which would tie a team record set in 1994 and tied in 2001.

The way the Steelers came about those four sacks against the Bengals is the blueprint they would like to follow. Watt and fellow outside linebacker Bud Dupree each had one sack, and defensive ends Cameron Heyward and Tyson Alualu had the other two.