The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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January 31, 2009

Can Steelers' LeBeau do it again?

(Continued)

TAMPA, Fla. —

“But as a coach, you feel like you had them in the right defense, but for whatever reason the cards just didn’t fall.”

n LeBeau had his Steelers in plenty of right defenses in Super Bowl XXX. The Dallas Cowboys of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin had averaged 34 points per playoff game, and the Steelers would’ve kept them well below that average had Neil O’Donnell not served up two touchdowns via awful interceptions in the Cowboys’ 27-17 win. LeBeau’s defense held Aikman to 209 yards passing, Smith to 49 yards rushing, and Irvin to 76 yards receiving.

n LeBeau finally got his ring in Super Bowl XL. His Steelers held the NFL’s No. 1 scoring team, the Seattle Seahawks, to only 10 points. His most effective call that game was a defense he’d installed the previous night.

“It was just a way for us to kind of roll up on where they like to throw it, the strong side,” said cornerback Deshea Townsend. “The backside corner was just playing zero man, but every time we ran it, they had a tough time. But he just saw something and he felt it.

“Most of the times,” Townsend added, “when you put a new defense in, you run it one or two times, but we probably ran that defense 10, 15 times in the game. That’s a lot for one call.”

The players trust whatever LeBeau will call tonight against the Cardinals, who’ll need plenty of offense to match the Steelers on the scoreboard.

While the Cardinals’ defense has young, emerging stars in DT Darnell Dockett, CB Antrell Rolle and SS Adrian Wilson, it did allow an average of 24 points, 340 yards and 4.3 yards per carry in its last five games. For a team to reach the Super Bowl with those kind of numbers down the stretch, it must have one hot offense.

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