5 takeaways from Steelers dramatic win over the Colts
JuJu Smith-Schuster needs to get better
We can make excuses for JuJu all we want, but the fact of the matter is that he hasn’t shown much improvement in his third NFL season. Yes, he is without his Hall of Fame quarterback, and the opportunities aren’t there like they used to be. However, JuJu needs to start making the most of the looks he does see.
Smith-Schuster let a pass slip right through his hands against the Colts that resulted in an interception. He went on to manage just 16 yards on 5 targets against Indianapolis.
JuJu has had some issues creating separation, and that could be part of the reason that Mason Rudolph is electing to look elsewhere. Over his last five games, JuJu now has a 15 yard, 7 yard, and 16-yard performances. There are a lot of factors that tie into his lack of production, but he needs to start making plays with each opportunity.
Randy Fichtner’s offense isn’t working
Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner has had some real issues this season, and it’s becoming more apparent how much control he let Ben Roethlisberger have of the offense. With Rudolph at the helm, his gameplan has been ultra-conservative.
Though gimmicky shovel passes and running back screens will work against bad teams like the Bengals; the Steelers offense wasn’t moving on Sunday against the Colts. What’s more concerning is that Fichtner failed to make adjustments after the defense started stacking the box.
Mason Rudolph was a vertical-pass quarterback in college who averaged one of the best yards per pass attempt in the nation. However, the gameplan with Fichtner has not played to Rudolph’s strengths. I’m all for protecting young quarterbacks, but it’s time the Steelers started taking more shots down the field and start getting their wide receivers involved.
There were positives and negatives to note from the Steelers 26-24 victory over the Colts. While the defense looks as promising as it has been since the early 2000s, the offense continues to struggle in a big way. We will see what kind of adjustments Mike Tomlin and his staff have moving forward.