Steelers defense stays hot in fourth straight win

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The Pittsburgh Steelers defense tackles a Tampa Bay Buccaneers ball carrier - October 3, 2006

Matthew Szymanowski, Deputy Sports Editor

The Steelers might have the best defense in the NFL. After starting off 0-3, the Steelers have won five of their last six and four in a row after their 17-12 victory over the Los Angeles Rams Sunday evening.

The Steelers received the ball to start the game, and immediately fell behind 7-0 after fumbling in the end zone.

Following multiple punts from each team, the Steelers marched down the field and tied the game at 7.

Before the first half ended, the Steelers defense did it again. Defensive tackle Javon Hargrave forced a fumble and defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick took it 43 yards to the house to give the Steelers a 14-7 lead.

After allowing zero points and forcing a turnover in the first half, the Steelers defense picked up right where they left off. Joe Haden intercepted Rams quarterback Jared Goff on the first drive of the second half.

The Rams next drive had the same result when they tried to fake punt, only to be intercepted by Trey Edmunds.

The Rams did make it interesting later when they kicked a field goal and forced a safety in the fourth quarter to make it a 14-12 game.

During the fourth quarter, Mason Rudolph led the Steelers on their best drive of the game when they milked eight minutes off the clock and kicked a field goal to take a 17-12 lead.

The Rams, down by five, got the ball back with no timeouts and a minute remaining.

Then the defense did it again. Joe Haden forced a deflection and Minkah Fitzpatrick caught the ball out of mid-air for an interception to seal the win.

With the 17-12 win, the Steelers have improved to 5-4.

Since acquiring Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Steelers are 5-2 and are one of the best defensive teams, statistically. Fitzpatrick has five interceptions in seven games with the Steelers and is making a case for defensive player of the year.

The Steelers next game in Thursday, Nov. 14 at 8:15 p.m. in Cleveland against the Browns.

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