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Cam Heyward: 'Either buy in, or don't get on the field'

The Pittsburgh Steelers' defense continues to be a sieve with more holes than a public street.

Mike Tomlin's team has allowed 400-plus total yards in three straight weeks. The last time a Steelers team performed that lousy for a three-game stretch was November, 1954 -- Tomlin wouldn't even be born for another 17 years.

Pittsburgh currently ranks 30th in yards allowed per game (420.5), 26th in points allowed (29.0) and 25th in yards per play given up (6.0).

The defensive struggles are one main reason the Steelers sit at 1-2-1.

"It's about believing in the defense," defensive captain Cameron Heyward said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I'm not for big speeches. I look for guys to step up. The kitchen is hot right now, and everyone is looking to get out, so we have to get to work and settle it down. Either buy in, or don't get on the field.

"Our defense is built on everyone doing their 1/11th. That's the way it's always been, and we have to get back to that."

Through four games, the Steelers' D has been plagued by missed assignments, the lack of pass rush, miscommunication on the back end, and (most of all) horrific tackling.

Heyward noted that players need to work together to fix the issue.

"It's assignment football and being more accountable," Heyward said. "It's understanding rush and coverage work together. If the rush doesn't get there, we have to get our hands up. We have to get better push. And our secondary has to make some plays. If we're in man, we have to keep our leverage inside. In the run game, we have to be in our gaps and stay sound, not shooting blocks and trying to make plays. Our defense isn't about making plays. It's about doing your job. That's for everyone out there. I don't give a [darn] if I never get a sack again. But if everyone else does their job and we get off the field, then so be it."

The job doesn't get any easier for the maligned defense. Pittsburgh faces the high-flying Atlanta Falcons on Sunday before a divisional tilt versus the red-hot Cincinnati Bengals.

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