Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon knows the defense has not performed up to its usual standards this season. But seeing the Steelers with a 29 next to their name in one notable category in the NFL's weekly statistics nearly left McLendon speechless.

The category is run defense and that would be 29th out of 32 teams.

"Man that's bad" said McLendon a five-year veteran in his first season as a full-time starter. "We used to be in the top five. We haven't ever been out of the top 10. That's a first man. We just have to do better."
Once the NFL's most impenetrable rush defense the Steelers are no longer striking fear into opposing offenses. Each of the first four opponents accumulated 100 yards rushing or more against the Steelers. To put that into perspective when the Steelers won the Super Bowl after the 2008 season they allowed only five teams to rush for 100 yards in 16 regular-season games and three postseason contests. Even the 8-8 team last season allowed just four opponents to rush for 100 or more.

The Steelers have been a dominant defense against the run since 2000 leading the NFL in rush defense four times in the past 12 seasons. They have been among the top 10 against the run 11 times in that span with the exception in 2003 when they were 12th.

The Steelers have allowed 122.8 yards per game as they enter their off week. Only St. Louis Washington and Jacksonville have yielded more.

The previous time the Steelers struggled so much against the run was 1999 when they finished the season 26th.

Adrian Peterson was the latest running back to run through the Steelers defense. He rushed for 140 yards including a 60-yard touchdown run in the Vikings' 34-27 victory Sunday in London against the Steelers. It was the second time in as many weeks the Steelers allowed a run of 50 yards or more. Matt Forte of Chicago had a 55-yard run the previous week at Heinz Field.

"If you take away those runs I bet those numbers would be all right" defensive end Brett Keisel said.