The Steelers were able to control the clock, but not the scoreboard in their season opener against the Patriots. Red zone success will be key if they want to win their home opener in Pittsburgh.
Hopefully, Josh Scobee has built some confidence in practice this week and will feel more comfortable kicking in front of a home crowd in what look to be much better weather conditions than Foxborough last week.
The Steelers should be happy that Rob Gronkowski only plays for the Patriots and that they won’t have to face him again in the regular season. However, Hyde showed off similar ability to dominate a defense. If the Steelers cannot contain him, it will be a long day and they know it.
Add in the running ability of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and the Steelers need to step up and play physically against the run. If they don’t, it could be a long day in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers will still be without Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant as they continue to sit out due to suspensions. That makes Williams all the more important. The Steelers will rely on Williams in the running game, and Ben Roethlisberger will continue to lean on receivers like Markus Wheaton and Darrius Heyward-Bey to fill the void left by Bryant.
The energy levels should be high as the Steelers open their season at Heinz Field. The involvement of the home crowd will hopefully help the Steelers’ defense to improve their dreadful third down performance from week one.
If the Steelers can contain the 49ers’ rushing attack, then they will get more favorable third down distances and be able to make Kaepernick throw from the pocket. Though he is capable, it’s better for the Steelers to keep him there.
Then it will come down to scoring points on offense. The 49ers have lost a lot of players on defense since 2014, but the Steelers’ red zone woes seem to be sticking around. They need to shake them off, and start crossing the goal line once they get past the 20.
More from Still Curtain
- Mel Kiper Jr. makes predictable pick for Steelers in first NFL mock draft
- Steelers news: Brian Flores odds to land HC job, no projected compensatory picks, and more
- Why Jordan Addison to the Steelers is a good idea
- 4 reasons Steelers would have been embarrassed in the NFL playoffs
- The easiest cut the Pittsburgh Steelers will make in 2023