The Pittsburgh Steelers were hoping to come away with their second straight win, but their offense wasn’t nearly good enough to get the job done.
We knew that the Pittsburgh Steelers could struggle against the New England Patriots if their offense did not take a step forward from a disappointing Week 1 performance. Against the Bengals in the season-opener, Pittsburgh squeaked out an overtime win thanks to a defense that was able to take the ball away a whopping five times. That wasn’t the case this week.
From the gate, Pittsburgh’s offense was completely stagnant against New England. After not even getting in scoring territory in the first quarter, the Steelers were able to muster up just 3 points going into the half as they trailed by 10.
The second half wasn’t a whole lot better. Mike Tomlin’s team scored just 3 points in the third quarter. After they mixed things up with the hurry-up offense trailing by two scores in the fourth quarter, the Steelers were able to march down for a touchdown and a two-point conversion. However, they quickly reverted back to their old ways as their luck ran dry late in the game. Eventually, the Patriots would assume victory position and kneel on the ball to close out the game — winning the contest 17-14.
Steelers offensive game plan was incredibly poor
Though I was frustrated with how often Patriots QB Mac Jones seemed to be able to find receivers over the middle of the field, it’s really hard to be too upset with Pittsburgh’s defense in this contest. While they struggled mightily to generate pressure without T.J. Watt, they did a good job containing the Patriots.
The Steelers only surrendered 17 points, but it took a huge play just before the half and a muffed punt return by Gunnar Olszewski that set them up beautifully in the red zone. The vast majority of the problems came on the offensive side of the ball.
For the second straight game to open the 2022 season, this unit was abysmal. Mitch Trubisky has now been held under 200 passing yards in both games to begin his tenure with the Steelers — averaging a dismal 5.1 yards per attempt in both contests, via ESPN stats. A scripted game plan didn’t help matters, but Trubisky once again seemed far too content to pass the ball down underneath. When he did take a shot, he failed to connect outside of a big play to George Pickens before the half.
In addition to a stagnant passing game, the Steelers once again struggled to get things going on the ground. Though the team averaged 4.1 yards per carry, Najee Harris was held under 3.5 yards per attempt for the second straight week — earning just 49 yards one 15 carries.
The Steelers need to make changes and make them fast. They cannot keep depending on their defense to keep them in games — especially considering T.J. Watt is still going to be out for another month or so. This offense has to start finding success through the air. By doing so, they could take defenders out of the box and help set up the run.
Fans are going to be chanting for Kenny Pickett very soon, and it’s not hard to understand why. Mitch Trubisky has to be on a short leash after another embarrassing offensive performance. This was a very winnable game, but the Pittsburgh Steelers offense once again fell short.