PITTSBURGH — After suffering a disheartening loss to the Cincinnati Bengals by a score of 37-30, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ season continues to be a roller coaster.
The Steelers were unable to win this game because of a combination of factors, including their offense and defense. Both teams had chances to put the Bengals out of their misery, but neither side was successful in doing so.
The Steelers’ season has been characterized by the fact that nothing can remain stable for a sufficient amount of time to produce measurable outcomes. And that was all too clear in this particular instance.
Can’t Blame The Offense For The Loss
Even though the Steelers’ offense struggled mightily in the second half against the Bengals, the reason they fell short was because their defense allowed 37 points to be scored. In the National Football League, the general rule of thumb is that if you hold an opponent to 20 points, you should win. After that point, you will face a significant increase in difficulty with each new score.
Any team, not just the Steelers, would have a difficult time reaching 37 points.
For the first time since Week 1, Pittsburgh had both Minkah Fitzpatrick and T.J. Watt on the field at the same time, and they anticipated that this would lead to improved play from the entire group. It wasn’t, and because of that, you might be wondering how much further behind the group is than you anticipated before the year began.
Steelers Wide Receivers Gave Up
Do you remember the days of Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, when Big Ben would flee the pocket and you knew that AB was somewhere on the field attempting to get open while he was running around? That was the object that was the furthest away from Acrisure Stadium for the Steelers in the latter stages of the game.
Both Diontae Johnson and George Pickens departed the game before to the two-minute warning, and it was very clear that they did so. When Pickett would roll out to either side of the field or miss a tackle and keep a play alive, he would glance down the field and see a large group of players congregating.
There are several offensive players for Pittsburgh that have left the game. The question that needs to be answered now is whether or not they will check back in.
Steelers Getting Close To “Kenny Isn’t It”
As a general rule, you shouldn’t be too harsh in your evaluation of a quarterback in his first year in the league, and I intend to adhere to that principle throughout the season. Having said that, it is encouraging to see them make progress, and Pickett isn’t fumbling the ball, but it appears as like he is losing some of his ability to read defenses and locate open receivers.
When playing against the Bengals, there were moments when Pickett would pass the ball while looking for a receiver who was covered, even though another wideout was standing five feet away and was completely open. This occurred an extremely high number of times.
Pickett’s timing is off, and he rarely spots an opportunity in time to capitalize on it. When he does, it’s usually too late. You need to be able to recognize that individuals such as Diontae Johnson and George Pickens, who are on the outside, are capable of beating their man even if they do not have any assistance from the top.
Pickett is simply blind to the splash plays that are taking place in front of him.
Pickett Needs Help
The rookie quarterback of the Steelers is being asked to handle an excessive amount of responsibilities by the offense. He has had trouble keeping up with the enormous workload, which has included 30 passes and two rushes while Harris and Jaylen Warren have combined for a total of 21 rushes. He has battled with this.
To wrap up, I’d want to mention that the offense is getting better, particularly the running game. They have the luxury of putting less pressure on their young player, who is already having trouble keeping up with the demands of leading this team.
A player at that point in his career shouldn’t be asked to do this much when a bad offense surrounds him; Pickett is not good enough or experienced to do that, and that is not a condemnation of his play.
Defense Tires Late Again
The attack, for all the good it did in the first half, was essentially non-existent in the second. They routinely play with a depleted defense and put them in difficult situations. No one on defense will ever publicly blame another player or coach, but it’s clear that they can only take so much pressure before they start to crack down the stretch in close games.
This defense is the highest-paid in the NFL, so it has to live up to some pretty high standards, but they still need help from the offense in the fourth quarter to win games. Against the Bengals, the defense offered the offense chance after chance and short field after short field and in the second half, those possibilities were squandered.
They don’t need to score 20 points per half, but they need to be able to sustain drives. This already strong defense will be even more effective as a result.
Everything said about the Steelers’ loss in Cincinnati on Monday night seems true. There don’t seem to be words for that 60-minute performance, not even with a dictionary full of adjectives at your disposal.