Steelers vs Patriots proves to be a defensive struggle in first half

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) - Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) - Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Steelers weren’t able to gain any ground on the New England Patriots in the first half of their Week 2 AFC matchup.

When oddsmakers at Fanduel Sportsbook finalized the betting odds before the Steelers vs Patriots, they had the point total set at 40.5. I urged fans to hammer the under. After watching these two offenses in Week 1, it didn’t look like there was going to be any way that they would combine for at least 41 points this week. So far, that’s looking like a solid bet.

The first half was a complete defensive struggle for both teams. By the end of the first quarter, New England held a 3-0 lead. After the Steelers knotted things up at 3-3 in the second quarter, the Patriots eventually scored on a shot down the sideline just second before the half — they exit the tunnel with a 10-3 lead.

This contest has been a complete defensive struggle thus far. New England’s first points came on the opening drive when Pittsburgh’s defense was flat. For almost all of the first half, both teams’ offenses looked stagnant as this essentially became a battle of field position.

The Patriots ran just 26 plays and held the ball for 12:37. Though quarterback Mac Jones did have 143 passing yards with a touchdown and an interception (courtesy of Minkah Fitzpatrick), nearly a third of his production came on one play in the closing seconds of the half.

Steelers offense is a major concern

The Steelers offense was abysmal in the first half. After scoring just 16 offensive points in regulation and overtime last week, fans were hoping for much better results this time around. So far, that hasn’t been the case. Mitch Trubisky has really struggled to pass the football and he threw an interception in the first quarter. He exited that half completing 11 of 19 passing for just 96 yards (5.1 yards per attempt) and was sacked 3 times, via ESPN box score stats.

While the rushing attack has found a bit more success on the ground this week, their 3.4 yards per attempt certainly isn’t what we wanted to see. Pittsburgh gave Najee Harris 10 carries in the first half, but it equated to just 30 yards.

This offense is really lacking explosive plays. Trubisky had a chance to thread the needle to Pat Freiermuth on a risky throw in the second quarter, but the ball bounced off his facemask. Outside of that, there weren’t many big plays to note.

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The Steelers offense has been incredibly unreliable so far, and they are really going to have to adjust their game plan and start airing out over the middle if they want to be able to keep pace with opposing teams this year.