Steelers vs. Raiders: Pittsburgh disappoints in home opener
The Pittsburgh Steelers drop the home opener against the Las Vegas Raiders, and injuries weren’t the only thing wrong with the team.
The Pittsburgh Steelers‘ offensive performance against the Buffalo Bills during Week 1 was surprising, to say the least, but the Steelers appear to have left their explosive offense in Buffalo, as they could not convert many long-ball plays against a poor Las Vegas Raiders secondary.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger fired a few deep balls towards second-year receiver Chase Claypool and came down with just one. Roethlisberger finished with 295 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Wide receiver Diontae Johnson did have a big gain of 41 yards but stepped out of bounds when it seemed like he could’ve scored, there was a defensive penalty called that was declined.
Fellow wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster was used early on and ended up with six catches for 41 yards and a rushing touchdown, and rookie tight end Pat Friermuth’s usage in the offense expanded and he seemed to be more helpful than Eric Ebron.
On a more positive note, running back Najee Harris scored his first touchdown in the NFL and it came on a 25-yard catch and go. His rushing day was highlighted by a stiff-arm against Raiders safety Jonathan Abram, and Harris totaled 38 yards on 10 carries.
The statements Big Ben is washed and holding back the offense are starting to appear more frequent, do you think Roethlisberger is holding back the offense or is the offensive play-calling the problem?
The Steelers defense took massive hits before and during the game when speedy linebacker Devin Bush and veteran cornerback Joe Haden were declared out with groin injuries. Tyson Alualu is out for the 2021 season with a fractured ankle and will have surgery tomorrow to repair it, and EDGE T.J. Watt also suffered a groin injury in the second quarter, both massive hits to the pass rush and run defense.
The Steelers secondary did keep tight end Darren Waller in check, but let the speedy wide receiver Henry Ruggs caught a dagger of a touchdown that put a lid on the game. The defense could not wrap up on big plays, and it led to scores and clock burning, it was very frustrating to watch.
Once Watt, Haden, and Bush come back from their groin injuries the defense will regain its dominant nature, and with Alualu out, it opens opportunities for rookies and players who will be due for a new contract soon.
The Steeler’s offensive line was already bad heading into this game but got worse when right guard Trai Turner got ejected for arguing after someone spit in his face.
Rothlisberger was hit hard multiple times and was continually pressured from all sides. There were small holes for Harris to run through and those holes led to 39 rushing yards.
The offensive line speaks for itself, but it will be interesting to see how everything goes down when Zach Banner comes off the IR after the Week 3 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.