Coming into this season, Steelers Nation had hoped for an elite defense. T.J. Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick's extension and a bevy of free agent signings (Miles Jack, Levi Wallace, et.al) not only made for the highest paid defense in the NFL... it led to high expectations. While after week one at Cincinnati we felt that this defense was on it's way to being elite, TJ Watt tore his pec, and so the defense has been torn apart. Week two against the Patriots yielded zero sacks, and the defense could not get off the field in the fourth quarter. The Browns were able to run all over and had no problems finding Cooper and Njoku when the run game stumbled, and, again there were no turnovers or big plays, in spite of a couple of meaningless sacks. This is not an elite defense.
The Matt Canada offense - we hoped would result in a well-oiled machine with a more mobile QB versatile weapons (such as George Pickens, who seemed to be the second-coming of Lynn Swann). After 3 games, that doesn't seem to be the case. The offense somehow looks nearly the same as last year with dinks and doinks and the inability to sustain drives consistently. It’s clear that even with a mobile QB this offense doesn’t have what it takes to win close games or score with regularity.
So instead of stealing games versus the Patriots and the Browns, games that were both one score games going into the 4th quarter the Steelers blew it. Instead of 3-0 they are lucky to be 1-2. Against the Patriots the Steelers offense managed 6 plays and 12 yards in the 4th quarter and the defense was on the field the last 6 minutes as the Pats held on to the ball and kneeled to victory. The Steelers were up 14-13 when the Browns came out in the 3rd quarter, the Steelers offense tripped over the 50-yard line and had to punt the ball away. While the Browns offense put together a 14 play 70-yard drive for a FG, the Steelers anemic offense sputtered on 3 plays for 7 yard and a punt. The Browns then went on an 11 play 80 yard drive for the game winning TD.
The Steelers were outcoached, outplayed, and were manhandled in both losses. Before you think a major change on offense would help, I’m not sure that bringing in Kenny Pickett will do anything to solve those problems. Also, if you think the Jets are a walk in the park, need I remind you they beat the Cleveland Browns.
The bottom line here is that this is more of a "transition" than we had hoped for... and it seems that we may be in for a long season.
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