A week ago it looked like the Steelers had life. The offense moved the ball effectively and finally clicked while the defense did enough to pull out the win. There were still issues that needed to be fixed, but there was actually hope for this team.
Now, I feel like Rob Schneider from the critically acclaimed masterpiece, The Waterboy.
“Oh no, we suck again!”
It was a tough outing, and there are no excuses for dropping this game to the Cardinals. Sure, any given Sunday, and winning in the NFL is never easy. Losing Kenny Pickett doesn’t help things, but quarterback play was the least of the issues. Here are the winners and losers from this disaster of a Steelers game.
The running game
The Steelers lost this game for a multitude of reasons, but the running game wasn’t one of those reasons. Once again, the combination of Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris was effective and critical for the success of this offense. The issue seemed to be shifting away from the running game even when the game was within reach. Moving forward, this offense will need to be able to continue with the ground success even with defenses likely keying in on it.
We finally saw the George Pickens of old in this game, as he was his usual big play threat with a few impressive snags. With the offense likely in for some changes, Pickens will need to continue rising to the occasion.
Ug, what an ugly outing for Mason Cole in this game. While he was one of the steadier presences on this offensive line last year, he struggled in the first half of this season. His play was rebounding slowly, but this game brought him back to the basement. Poor blocking and multiple bad snaps really make Cole a likely cut in the offseason.
Miles Killebrew is one of the more unsung heroes on this roster in most weeks. He is a special teams ace and is known for making the occasional key play. His game this week was sloppy. The running into the punter wasn’t as much his fault, but the fair catch tackle was a turning point. It wasn’t the end of the world, but his play this week was sloppy.
Steelers run defense
The Steelers' run defense was a unit on the rise over the past few weeks. The return of Cameron Heyward was seemingly key in getting this squad back on track. This week was a different story though, as a familiar face in James Conner dominated this team. It wasn’t just him either, as recently added Michael Carter carved this defense up as well.
Even when the Cardinals had the lead and were heavily leaning on the run, this defense couldn’t stop anything. It was a poor showing from a group that had seemingly turned a corner.
When fellow writer Ryan Pawloski asked us for our weekly predictions, I almost wanted to give the Steelers the loss. That said, I couldn’t figure out a way that this team feasibly would have lost to the Cardinals. Yet, here we are, as this team only scored 10 points against one of the worst teams in the league.
How do you not coach this team better to combat this weak team? It looks even worse with Warren saying that they shouldn’t have taken the Cardinals so lightly. It is a horrible look for a team that looked like a turnaround candidate.
It was a pathetic game for this team as a whole, and it cost them a winnable game. Now, they will have to combat some injuries in a short week against a never-easy Patriots team. The Era of Good Feelings was short-lived, and the angst around this team has rightfully returned.