Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu (43) on the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. The Oakland Raiders defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-18. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Polamalu leads safeties in tackles for loss

Pittsburgh Steelers star safety Troy Polamalu is still a force in this league even at the age of 32, and he’s back to playing at an elite level this season. The strong safety has been assured in coverage throughout the season, and he’s also made a huge impact against the run. It’s always a joy to watch his instincts and playmaking ability at work, and boy is he making plays this season.

Polamalu leads all safeties with seven tackles for loss (36 total tackles), which means that 19.4% of his total tackles end up going for a loss. He’s also made plenty of plays in the passing game with four passes defended and one interception. Polamalu is back to his best, and it will be interesting to see what he is able to do this week against the New England Patriots. His ability to always find the ball and disrupt the running game will be crucial, because Stevan Ridley has clearly been the Patriots best skill position player this season, even if the Pats are unwisely reluctant to utilize him enough.

I’ve also been impressed with Polamalu’s ability to blitz when needed, and the Steelers veteran SS notched a sack last week in the loss to the Oakland Raiders. Since he is so good in coverage, the Steelers don’t ask him to do many safety blitzes right now, but he is effective when asked. Leading the league in tackles for loss is a significant statistic for a strong safety, and Polamalu continues to be one of the league’s best all-around safeties. He hasn’t been burned downfield either, and it seems like quarterbacks should just avoid throwing it in Polamalu’s direction altogether. QBs haven’t thrown many passes his way this season, and that’s certainly for good reason. He hasn’t allowed a touchdown catch so far, and he has simply been at his best overall. Although I had T.J. Ward over him on my All-Pro team, there is little doubt that Polamalu is an All-Pro candidate this season, based on his play heading into today’s game.

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Tags: Pittsburgh Steelers Troy Polamalu

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