The Steelers offense was not able to accomplish much in week one against the Bengals and many fear there is no end in sight.
The Steelers escaped with a last second win in overtime against the defending AFC North division winner in week one. The Cincinnati Bengals fought hard and came back despite having a handful of turnovers in the contest. That put them behind the eight ball, and they also made some mental errors as well that cost them the game.
Injuries also shaped the battle between these two as they had a direct correlation to the outcome of this one. Pittsburgh’s offense also allowed for the Bengals to come back into this one as they failed to put points on the board by sustaining and creating their own drives. Instead, they relied mostly on the defense to cause turnovers to get a shorted field to tack numbers on the board.
The Steelers starting quarterback struggled to make the offense move
Mitch Trubisky got his first start in the NFL since he played with the Chicago Bears in 2020. He did not seem well prepared in his first start back as the offense continuously sputtered with him behind the reigns. He played well during the preseason, but the regular games are where things start to speed up.
He did not cost the Steelers the game on Sunday and played safe with the ball in his hands. Not taking shots and spreading the ball out is going to cause this club to lose games if they are not careful. The defense won them the game and Trubisky needs to be more comfortable making deeper throws to his receivers, which have all the talent in the world.
Najee Harris never really had a chance to make anything happen
The running game was barely existent for Pittsburgh as the offensive line failed to make any push. The team seemed to go away from it as the game progressed and tried moving the ball through other methods. The receiver runs on the outside had mixed results but overall things did not go too well.
You cannot blame everything on the running backs, and Najee Harris left late in the game with an injury. Jaylen Warren was able to fight for some yards while he was in there, but it was tough sledding for them. This offense needs the running game to get going so it can help balance out the passing offense that could be in flux.
The receivers showed some hope even though there was not much
Here is another positional group that suffered from the lack of quality from another player. Receivers need a quarterback to get them the ball so they can make plays, just like a running back needs an offensive lineman to block. That did not happen, and it caused some receivers to be totally left out of the fold, while others did their best to shine.
Diontae Johnson might have had the best catch of the season in week one, and he was able to help the offense some. Chase Claypool had an “ok” game even though he did not get his number called much. The fact that George Pickens did not get many targets was a travesty. This group did good with what they had to work with in week one, hopefully week two with be more bountiful.
Both tight ends made some significant contributions
The offense was not able to accomplish much this game, but the tight ends did make some big plays. Zach Gentry had a surprising reception that set the Steelers up for points earlier in the game. The biggest plays from the position came from Pat Freiermuth late in overtime that propelled this team to a game winning field goal.
Even though they did not put-up massive numbers on the stat sheet, both starting tight ends were able to make impactful plays. Both the blocking part and receiving dimensions of their game were on display in this win. They helped get the Steelers offense down the field and gather points when it mattered most.
The Steelers offensive line could not push in the run game
The offensive line brings a mix of emotions along with their performance against the Bengals. They were able to handle the pass rush well, which many did not expect to happen. The run blocking on the other hand was as close to dreadful as you could possibly muster as a group in the trenches.
The pass rush was fairly stabilized throughout the game, but it was not perfect. This line still needs a ton of work as they still cannot get any push during run plays. Najee Harris will not be able to accomplish anything if they keep repeating their performance that they did this past weekend.
Steelers offense overall grade in week one: C-
You could argue that their overall score should be less, but their lack of turnovers did keep them above water. This offensive group was bitterly stale in week one and must change that around from here on out. They have enough playmakers on offense to go down the field and add a chunk of points on the board every week.
Pittsburgh only scored nine points off drives where they started in enemy territory, and that is unacceptable. There was no rhythm for this unit, and they looked completely dysfunctional for most of the contest. They got this grade because they did not turn over the football and were able to get down the field to kick the game winning field goal at the end.
The Steelers offense has a lot of improvements to make because that performance was dreadful. The defense cannot always carry this team, or this could be a long season ahead.