It was a pathetic showing from the Steelers in Week 1, as despite showing a lot of promise in the offseason, this team came out flat and similar to how they played last year. There was real hope for a win in week one, and the expectation was at least for a close game. That wasn’t the case, as Pittsburgh came out flat and got demolished during their first game.
While I have already detailed a slew of different losers from the bout, having had the chance to think about it, I truly think George Pickens is the biggest loser from game one. While there were bigger statistical failures, Pickens may be my biggest loser against the 49ers.
This isn’t due to his stats. While 36 receiving yards isn’t great, that was more due to the offensive output. Pickens did have the chance to reel in a highlight touchdown, and while he ultimately caught the ball, he did fall out of bounds. Again, that was due to his quarterback play, not his own ability.
Steelers need George Pickens to mature
The real issue with Pickens in his first game this season was his demeanor. It was a tough outing overall, as very little went right and the offense as a whole looked like a junior varsity unit. Frustration is natural in the NFL, but it doesn’t excuse what happened and what Pickens did.
Late in the game with the result out of hand, Pickens made his final grab but got an unnecessary roughness penalty after the play. This stalled out yet another drive, and while it didn’t ultimately impact the outcome of a game, it certainly didn’t help things. In a closer game, actions like that can cost the team wins.
I get him being frustrated. Pickens went from being the top dog on one of the best teams in college and enjoying success both as a team and as a player to his current situation in Pittsburgh. Pickens has showcased some extreme talent, and I would argue that he has the potential to be a top receiver in the league.
The offense in Pittsburgh isn’t doing him many favors. The efficient and vertical Steelers offense of the preseason didn’t reappear in week one. This was a poor unit overall, and the team used Pickens in the short game mostly, which isn’t his best trait.
Again, his stats and play on the field weren’t the issue, it was his poor attitude. As a receiver, there will be games that you get shut out of or that your team loses. You can’t let that get into your head, as it will cost the team wins.
No, Pickens didn’t have the worst showing, but his immaturity stood out as a black spot from week one. The sky is the limit for this young star, but he can’t let his head get in his way. Pickens needs to mature and grow from this to stay on his trajectory.