The Pittsburgh Steelers fell to 1-1 after losing to the Patriots in Week 2. Here are my biggest takeaways from their disappointing loss.
It’s only Week 2, but fans have to be very frustrated by what they’ve witnessed so far. After the defense bailed them out with a whopping five takeaways in Week 1 against the Bengals, the Pittsburgh Steelers fell flat vs the Patriots in Week 2 and ultimately fell 17-10.
We knew that their incredible defensive performance in Week 1 was not sustainable, and I’ve been stressing all week that we needed to see improvement from Mitch Trubisky and changes to the offensive game plan. Unfortunately, we saw neither occur in Week 2. Here are my biggest takeaways from the Steelers disappointing loss vs the Patriots:
Matt Canada’s offense is far too scripted
There is no shortage of blame to go around on offense in Week 2 for the Steelers, but offensive coordinator Matt Canada certainly deserves to have some fingers pointed at him. After watching the all-22 film last week, I complained that he didn’t run nearly enough of his receivers across the middle of the field. However, his biggest issue is that his game plan is just too scripted.
It looks like there are just one or two reads on every passing play. Many, in fact, are drawn up to get Trubisky rolling out with only one passing option in sight. This game plan will not translate to a sustainable or successful offense. They need a major overhaul in the playbook, but the Steelers are on a short week and play the Browns on Thursday night.
Mitch Trubisky just isn’t very good
After bouncing around the league, nobody should be overly surprised to see Mitch Trubisky struggling early in the season. The fact of the matter is that he has never been more than a game manager. It was concerning that Trubisky averaged just 6.7 yards per attempt to begin his career, but I don’t know if anyone expected him to average just 5.1 yards per attempt through the first two weeks, according to ESPN.
Trubisky made some bad decisions against the Patriots and didn’t make nearly enough plays down the field or even to the sticks. He finished the contest with just 168 passing yards on 33 attempts with a touchdown and an interception. His 73.8 passer rating doesn’t even reflect how poor his performance was in this contest. He should be on a short leash, considering the way the offense has been playing.
Steelers defense can’t generate pressure without T.J. Watt
After seeing Mac Jones take several big shots last week against the Dolphins, I was optimistic that the Steelers might still be able to tee off on him in Week 2 without the assistance of T.J. Watt. This obviously was not the case. Not only did Pittsburgh fail to record a single sack, but generating any pressure whatsoever proved to be a challenge.
This was the case all afternoon. Alex Highsmith and Malik Reed were stonewalled against better offensive tackles and no Watt to alleviate pressure and draw the attention. Even when Pittsburgh sent the blitz, they couldn’t seem to get after the quarterback. This could be a big issue that could keep their defense from being elite while Watt is sidelined with a pectoral injury.
The Steelers have plenty of work to do as they prepare to face the Cleveland Browns on a short week on Thursday Night Football. Clearly, the story of the season so far has been the lack of offense, and I just don’t know how much longer they can go without making some significant changes.