The Steelers failed to defeat the Patriots on Sunday after a rough offensive showing. Here are the studs and duds from the disappointing loss.
The Steelers continued their struggles on offense this week, falling to the Patriots 17-14. The defense did their best without the injured TJ Watt, but it wasn’t enough with how stagnant the offense was. Despite the loss, there were a few players who had stud performances to go along with plenty of unfortunate duds. Let’s start with the positives.
Steelers Minkah Fitzpatrick leads the list of studs
Minkah Fitzpatrick continues to make plays
Without TJ Watt on the field this week, the other great players on the Steelers defense needed to step up. While it didn’t end up being enough, Minkah Fitzpatrick was once again one of the best players on the field against the Patriots.
He intercepted Patriots QB Mac Jones in the first quarter, and in general, helped keep the Patriots passing game in check. It wasn’t quite as dominant as his week 1 performance, but he certainly didn’t disappoint.
Chris Boswell and Presley Harvin have nice days
I hate that it’s the truth, but the Steelers kicker and punter were some of their best players on Sunday. Boswell made both of his kicks, including yet another 50+ yarder. Nobody is better at hitting those at Acrisure stadium. Harvin was excellent in his own right, averaging 51.8 yards per punt with a long of 69. It may not have led to a win, but the Steelers special teams more than played their part.
Steelers Mitchell Trubisky leads the list of duds
Mitchell Trubisky and Matt Canada have offense stuck in the mud
The Steelers offense was once again abysmal on Sunday, routinely playing it safe and failing to move the ball outside of a few drives. Whether you blame Matt Canada’s playcalling or Mitch Trubisky’s conservative approach, the issues from last season continue to show up. Both are certainly to blame, but regardless something has to change.
Canada needs to either give Trubisky better looks down the field and in the middle of the field or Trubisky needs to take it upon himself to stand in the pocket and deliver the ball vertically. His receivers are getting open, he just isn’t getting through his reads and finding them. That has to change or the Kenny Pickett chants will only get louder.
Steelers pass rush is non-existent without Watt
I am sure most Steelers fans were expecting the pass rush to be less effective without TJ Watt, but the difference was massive. They had zero sacks and just three hits on Mac Jones after seven sacks and 11 QB hits the week prior against the Bengals.
While the Patriots offensive line is better than the Bengals, the difference in production was shocking. Alex Highsmith and Cam Heyward did their best to pressure Jones, but they couldn’t do it alone. If this is how the pass rush is going to look without Watt, it’s going to be a rough next few weeks.
Steelers run game still lacking juice
It seems like the Steelers have been incapable of running the football for several years now, and the stats would back that up. Najee Harris is a very talented back and Jaylen Warren looks the part as a quality backup, but without better blocking up front, they will continue to waste away.
They combined for 19 carries for 64 yards and no scores. That won’t get it done when the passing offense is unable to keep the defense honest. Harris is still nursing a foot injury which may be slowing him a bit, but even then he can’t avoid every tackle. Hopefully, they can finally get going on the ground against the Browns next week.