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Mike Mitchell: Steelers' defense not in 'panic mode'

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Pittsburgh has the firepower on offense to score a flood of points on a weekly basis -- and it might need to.

The Steelers' defense has allowed a whopping 26 points per game over four preseason tilts under new coordinator Keith Butler. These games can be shrugged off as meaningless, but the concern in Pittsburgh is real over an overhauled unit just nine days away from facing the Patriots in the opener.

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"I don't think we're in a panic mode," said safety Mike Mitchell, per Chris Bradford of The Beaver County Times. "I don't think the coaches are in an panic mode."

The worst of it came in Saturday's 43-19 exhibition loss to the Bills, a defeat that saw Buffalo pile up 542 total yards on offense with a wild 27 first downs. Bills quarterbacks -- the butt of jokes all summer -- blew up Pittsburgh's secondary to go a combined 30-of-33 passing for 386 yards with three touchdowns and zero picks. 

"I don't know the particular cause, but I would say it's just unacceptable," said defensive end Cameron Heyward, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "They beat us on all ends. When it rains it pours; that was a clear example out there."

It hasn't been a smooth transition for Pittsburgh after losing a once-in-a-generation play-caller in Dick LeBeau and watching eight-time Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu retire along with outside linebacker Jason Worilds and cornerback Ike Taylor.

The many new faces have shown moments of promise, but the Steelers are running out of time to figure it out before the results get real.

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