The good, the bad and the ugly of Steelers win over Bengals without Matt Canada

  • Offense improved without Matt Canada
  • Defense not squeezing opportunities
  • Diontae Johnson's first quarter was tough to watch

Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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The Good: The Steelers offense without Matt Canada

The Steelers had 421 yards of offense, of course, things were good. Granted, it could've been great if the Steelers could have finished drives in the endzone with more than 16 points, but against a division rival, a few things can stand to be overlooked as the Steelers made massive strides in improving their greatest weakness at this point in the season.

Kenny Pickett, though without a touchdown pass yet again, broke Ben Roethlisberger's franchise record for consecutive passes without an interception, completed 72% of his passes, threw for over 278 yards (second-most in his career) and delivered a much-needed AFC North victory.

Oh yeah, he also threw in the middle of the field.

The middle of the field was mostly utilized by Pat Freiermuth, who caught nine passes for 120 yards. Freiermuth had eight catches for 53 yards in the first five weeks before his injury, and just one for seven last week in his return.

Najee Harris was the better back this week as Warren cooled off with a fumble and 3.9 yards per carry. Still, the duo combined for 148 yards on 28 carries, with Harris getting 99 of those yards and a score. The running game is continuing to be a key component of the offense's budding successes.

The Steelers, under the new leadership of Faulkner and Sullivan, got the ball into the hands of their playmakers, utilized their strengths, and moved the football up and down the field.

Finishing is the next step in the process. The Steelers had six drives eat up more than three minutes of clock, but only had 16 points at the end of the game. The Steelers average giving up 18 points per game. That's a top-10 stat, but 16 points isn't always going to be good enough, no matter how many yards get them there.