The Pittsburgh Steelers dropped a must-win game against the Baltimore Ravens, and the biggest takeaways from this contest are very concerning.
Just when we think that the Pittsburgh Steelers might have turned a corner since the bye week, something like this happens. In Week 17 against the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh’s offense put up a dud performance — scoring just 7 points until late in the game when Trubisky recorded his first touchdown pass. This resulted in a 16-14 loss for the Steelers, but the game wasn’t really as close as the score indicated.
Unfortunately, this pivotal AFC North matchup was decided in a battle of backup quarterbacks between Mitch Trubisky and Tyler Huntley. Sadly, Trubisky threw three costly interceptions and the Steelers finished -3 in the turnover department. This undoubtedly contributed to the end result.
There were some extremely discouraging things we witnessed from this Week 14 performance. Here are the most frightening takeaways from the Steelers loss against the Ravens:
Concussions are becoming a huge concern for Kenny Pickett
All of the sudden, this is becoming a major area of concern. Kenny Pickett has only started 9 games, but he is already in concussion protocol for the second time this season. The medical team forced him to exit the game after just one pass attempt vs Baltimore. In the play where he was injured, Pickett took another big blow to the back of the head as he was whiplashed to the ground.
Concussions can shorten a player’s career and have lasting effects. It’s unfortunate that these are already occurring for a rookie player the Pittsburgh Steelers hope can be their franchise quarterback. We hope Pickett can get healthy soon and show signs of why he will be the quarterback of the future in Pittsburgh. He needs to be out there getting these reps.
Steelers run defense is concerningly poor
Pittsburgh’s interior defensive line has gotten progressively worse over the past three years. In 2019, this crew consisted of Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, and Javon Hargrave. Now, outside of an aging Heyward, they have a lackluster group of run defenders with players like Larry Ogunjobi, Montravius Adams, and Chris Wormley.
The Steelers surrendered 215 yards on the ground against Baltimore for over 5 yards per carry, according to ESPN stats. The linebackers are also an issue. This team simply needs to get younger and more talented on defense before they can expect better results against good running teams like the Ravens.
Steelers still aren’t getting George Pickens the football
I would have thought that George Pickens would have been pushing double-digit targets in Week 14 after his lack of usage was one of the biggest talking points of this past week in Pittsburgh. Sadly, the talented rookie managed just 3 targets in the game.
Pickens turned his limited looks into 3 receptions for 78 yards. He also drew a pass interference call in the endzone which made it easy for Najee Harris to punch in the touchdown on the next play. Despite his continued dominance down the sideline in contested situations, Pickens was tied for fourth in targets on the Steelers this week. Diontae Johnson led the team with 8 targets. This needs to change.
This Steelers team doesn’t deserve to make the playoffs
It’s hard to watch this Pittsburgh Steelers team in 2022 and make a strong case as to why they are deserving of a playoff spot. Though we can point to the loss of Pickett as a potential reason why Pittsburgh lost this game, we can’t use that as an excuse as the Ravens were without Lamar Jackson.
The sad truth is that this team just isn’t very talented, and that has proven to be the case throughout the year. Outside of a few stars and a couple of quality promising players, there aren’t a lot of guys on their roster who can’t easily be replaced. Pittsburgh’s front office has a lot of work to do to get this team back on track as a championship contender.