PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Steelers lead the NFL in total defense, as usual.
They're near dead last, though, in snarl. The Steelers (7-7) rank near the bottom of the league in turnovers and sacks, the kind of big plays that made them one of the most dominant units in football during the team's run of three Super Bowl appearances in six years.
While injuries to safety Troy Polamalu, linebacker James Harrison and cornerback Ike Taylor haven't helped, the Steelers say teams are no longer attacking them the way they used to. Nose tackle Casey Hampton says teams are too scared to test the Steelers deep and are instead relying on short passes to move the chains and stay out of danger.
Pittsburgh (7-7) hosts Cincinnati (8-6) on Sunday. A loss knocks the Steelers out of the playoffs.
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL