I was skeptical, to say the least, of the Steelers chances of winning against the Raiders on Sunday night. This offense was a lackluster group, failing to ever mount a significant drive. The defense had splash plays, but overall struggled against the run and pass.
It turned out to be a better game than expected, as Pittsburgh looked far more confident than I expected them to look on the road. While the Raiders kept it close, it ultimately wasn’t enough to get the job done. Here are the winners and losers from this Week 3 matchup.
The receiver group
While this passing attack wasn’t elite, it did more than enough to get the job done. Calvin Austin provided a huge spark early in the game while George Pickens was a strong presence in his second week as the top guy. Pat Freiermuth got more involved and looked like his normal stuff while Allen Robinson also made some tough plays. Again, not elite by any means, but a strong showing overall.
In the same vein as the receivers, I need to give Kenny Pickett his due. The start of the season was horrible, as he looked like a complete mess through the first two weeks. He wasn’t perfect this week, but he did more than enough to hold his own and keep drives alive. This was one of the best games of Pickett’s career so far.
It is time to give the devil his due. While Matt Canada deserves a lot of blame for the lackluster offense, he had a decent scheme drawn up this week. The run game was still lacking, but the passing offense was efficient and seemed to have some more diversity in the play calling. Canada deserves some praise for the game plan this week.
The offensive line
The defense and offense worked relatively well, but the offensive line once again came up short. I highlighted that the Raiders front seven was a weaker unit, but that didn’t seem to matter. The run blocking failed to open up any big holes and the pass blocking gave up a lot of pressure.
There has been a lot of investment in this group over the past two seasons, but it hasn’t paid off yet. Both of the tackles struggled once again and the interior, where the strength should be, is constantly making mistakes. This group needs to get on track and soon to keep up the momentum.
It was a solid showing for the Steelers in week three. The defense continued its string of big plays and the offense countered with continued success. This wasn’t a perfect game by any means, but this was a needed win for the Steelers early in the season.