The Steelers have a lot of things to figure out after their latest loss dropped them to 2-5. Here is how the team performed against Miami.
The Steelers fell to 2-5 Sunday night as the Dolphins held onto win 16-10. It was a tale of two halves, as both teams failed to score a single point after halftime. The Steelers had multiple chances late in the game to take the lead, but mistakes on offense killed any chance of that. Despite the loss, it wasn’t all bad for Pittsburgh. Let’s take a look at the studs and duds against the Dolphins, starting with the “other” Steelers safety.
Steelers Terrell Edmunds, George Pickens lead list of studs
Terrell Edmunds deserves a new contract
Terrell Edmunds has been living up to his draft pedigree this season, consistently impacting the game in both the pass and run game. His play in coverage on Tyreek Hill late in the game was especially great, turning around just in time to avoid a penalty and shielding Hill from the ball.
He also helped slow down a strong start by the Dolphins run game. That allowed the defense to be set up better to deal with the Dolphins speed at receiver. The Steelers really need to lock him up as soon as possible. He and Minkah Fitzpatrick could be a top-5 safety duo for years to come.
George Pickens picks up first career TD
George Pickens numbers against Miami were nothing special: six catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. But that TD was the only one the Steelers managed on the night, and it was a spectacular toe-tap catch to boot. Unbelievable catches are nothing new to Pickens, but scoring his first TD had to feel great. He only finished with six targets though, something that needs to change moving forward.
Pat Freiermuth has nice return to action
Pat Freiermuth returned this week after his third concussion in two years kept him out of the win over Tampa Bay. He certainly looked healthy, catching eight passes for 75 yards. His biggest play was the 4th and 10 catch on the Steelers final drive that kept the comeback alive. It was great to see him have a prominent role in his return and I expect that role to only get bigger.
Steelers pass rush, Kenny Pickett lead list of duds
Kenny Pickett has worst pro performance
If Sunday in Miami is any indication, Kenny Pickett has a long way to go before he is ready to win games for the Steelers. He had his 2nd three-interception performance of the season, and this one was far worse than his debut against the Jets. His first was due to Chase Claypool falling down, but the other two were inexcusable.
Forcing the ball to Diontae Johnson while in field goal range nearly ended the game. The last pick was by far the worst, throwing it right to Noah Igbinoghene for the game-losing turnover. Pickett needs to stay the starter for the sake of his development, but his decision-making has to improve.
Steelers pass rush comes up empty in Miami
The Steelers pass rush finally showed some life against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers last week. That momentum disappeared Sunday night, failing to record a single sack against the Dolphins. QB Tua Tagovailoa was getting the ball out quickly all game, but even when he held the ball the pressure never got home.
The only player to hit Tagovailoa in the pocket was Malik Reed. Top pass rusher Alex Highsmith didn’t even record a statistic all game. Cam Heyward and Larry Ogunjobi were good against the run but couldn’t get pressure up the middle. This defense desperately needs TJ Watt back as soon as possible.
Steelers secondary drops multiple picks in loss
The entire Steelers secondary needs to hit the jugs machine after their performance on Sunday. A minimum of three (honestly four) passes should have been intercepted Sunday, and all could have been the difference in the game. I can’t say the secondary played poorly, especially after the first few drives. The inability to come away with gifts from Tua though cost them dearly.
The Steelers offense was sputtering most of the game as usual, so a huge turnover could have been the spark they needed. Instead, they came up empty despite multiple chances to catch errant throws by Tua. The offense and defense can’t seem to both play well at the same time, and until they do the Steelers will continue to rack up losses.