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Alabama in the Pros

Mark Barron keeping Steelers in forefront of AFC playoffs

© Matt Kartozian - USA TODAY Sports

Pairing him with Minkah Fitzpatrick was obviously a good move on behalf of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Mark Barron was a one-man show on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. 

A native of Mobile, Ala., the former All-American safety and two-time BCS National Champion (2009, 2011) at Alabama kept the Steelers in the AFC’s second wildcard spot for the playoffs with his performance. 

He led the team in total tackles (seven) and posted one tackle for loss, which was a sack of rookie quarterback, Kyler Murray of the Cardinals. Barron was a force in the backfield for Pittsburgh in its 23-17 victory, collecting his sixth game with at least six tackles.  

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He chimes in with 69 tackles on the season – including five for loss with three sacks. 

Barron also has two pass breakups, one interception and one fumble as he has the Steelers positioned at 8-5.

Should it win-out the remainder of its schedule, which includes a regular season finale versus Baltimore and a date with the Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh will be playoff bound.

With Barron at linebacker, the team is fifth in the National Football League in total defense (310.9 ypg), fifth in pass defense (209.8 ypg) and ninth in rush defense (101.2 ypg). 

He anchors a group that has allowed just five rushing touchdowns and a passer rating 81.2 to opposing quarterbacks.

Barron and the Steelers will battle the Bills (9-4) this week at home. 

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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