3 Key match ups to watch in Steelers week 3 vs 49ers
Steelers Defense vs. George Kittle
Well, at least it’s not Gronk, right? Even then, the Steelers had a hard time containing Will Dissly last week in Heinz Field. Shanahan and Kittle are bound to be dreaming of a feast they can have on the Steelers defense.
Despite obtaining Minkah Fitzpatrick in a trade with the Dolphins, the Steelers defense still has a lot of questions surrounding them. When will execution and communication improve? Does this defense have enough talent to be a decent defense?
They will have little time to waste as they prepare to game plan against one the biggest playmaking tight ends in the game. The most notable area of weakness for the Steelers is their pass coverage over the middle of the field.
New England gashed the Steelers middle linebackers and safeties with play-action and crosser while Seattle attack with short passes that turned into big YAC plays. Devin Bush often has looked like a rookie with a few flashes of brilliance alongside Mark Barron who has been the constant presence at inside linebacker.
The execution, communication, and overall play will have to be better against the 49ers top pass catcher. With unproven receivers on the outside, the Steelers know they will have to focus on Kittle. Steven Nelson shut down Seattle’s DK Metcalf when targeted, and Joe Haden is still reliable on the outside.
While a big part of shutting Kittle down will come down to shutting down the NFL’s 4th ranked rushing attack, the Steelers will help themselves put pressure on Jimmy Garoppolo by taking away his top weapon.
This matchup will ultimately make or break the Steelers defense. Could they use Minkah in coverage against him? Time will tell what Keith Butler has drawn up.