The Pittsburgh Steelers have now tied with the Cleveland Browns, and loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. There doesn’t seem like there is a need to hit the panic button, but nobody saw a 0-1-1 record to begin the season.
The biggest issue for Steelers is that they’ve been inconsistent on the offensive, and defensive side of the ball. Against the Browns, the Steelers defense made plays. The Steelers created 6 turnovers against the Browns, but none against the Chiefs. The Steelers allowed 327 yards against the Browns, but they allowed 449 yards against the Chiefs. While a 122 yard difference doesn’t seem significant, the game with the Browns went into overtime. The Steelers pressured the Browns QB Tyrod Taylor, while Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes was rarely hurried while in the pocket.
The only constant on the Steelers is running back James Conner. He’s shown that he can run and catch efficiently in the Steelers offense. In the two games played, Conner has combined for three touchdowns and 257 all purpose yards. Conner has started the season as if he was suppose to be the number one running back on the depth chart. Running back Le’Veon Bell’s absence is troubling, but Conner has substituted well.
The Steelers go off to Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers Monday. The Buccaneers offense has been one of the best in the league, so it is imperative for the Steelers defense to get on the right page. Steelers defenders missed several tackles and assignments during the game against the Chiefs. The Steelers have had issues tackling for years now, so it’s worrisome to see them still struggle to make tackles. The absence of linebacker Ryan Shazier has been felt since the day of his injury. The Steelers seem to not have a captain on the defensive side of the ball. Linebacker TJ Watt has arguably been the Steelers best defensive player to begin the season, so he may need to step up in order to rejuvenate the defense.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been the leader on the offensive side of the ball for more than a decade. The only issue on the offensive side of the ball is that there aren’t enough footballs to catch. Wide receivers Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Justin Hunter, and rookie James Washington are spectacular talents who demand targets. Running backs Le’Veon Bell and James Conner are fantastic receivers in their own right. The Steelers offense is one of the most talented in the league, but a offense can’t always win you games. The Steelers needed the offense to win in overtime against the Browns, and they needed the defense to make a stop against the Chiefs.
The Steelers have a lot to think about before their matchup with Buccaneers Monday. Le’Veon Bell reporting to the team could change the complexity of the offense, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens with his situation before next Monday. Even with Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers defense will still need to be effective in order to win football games.