"Do I feel we could have done the same thing they did? I do. I do," LeBeau said Tuesday. "It didn't break that way.
"They got the right people back at the right time, and we continued to have more injuries, it seemed like. Many times that decides it."
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed three games. Running back Rashard Mendenhall missed 10 games and eventually was benched. Linebacker James Harrison was out three games, but he wasn't healthy most of the season. Safety Troy Polamalu sat out nine games. That's a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, a starting running back and two former NFL defensive players of the year.
"Can I say with a certain amount of credence we can compete with Baltimore day in and day out? I know it and I can say it," LeBeau said. "We didn't have Ben in either one of those games. I know we're a better team with Ben because he's a great player."
We see what LeBeau is trying to say, but the Steelers weren't only title contender hurt by injuries. And the Ravens were a different team most of the regular season from the one which heated up in the playoffs. That's life in the NFL.
The Steelers will remain a major player with Roethlisberger and a defense that ranked first in the NFL in yards allowed. The problem was the No. 22 scoring offense, an ineffective run game and a lack of comfort with the new offense under coordinator Todd Haley. Another year in Haley's system should make a difference.
Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.