The Steelers were able to come away from their Monday Night Football matchup against the Bears with an extremely narrow victory. Cairo Santos almost sent the Bears to victory when the kick from his right foot was just short of a game-winning 65-yard field goal. There are two good things and two bad things that immediately come to mind when discussing how the Steelers should think about this game.
4 Steelers takeaways from Week 9
4. The Steelers let Fields break contain too much
Edge rushers TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith were routinely out of place when Fields went to scramble. The Bears’ offensive line was able to use that against them and put them into spots where they couldn’t make plays. Both edge rushers will need to contain the edges a lot better in games later this year against divisional rival Lamar Jackson. If Pittsburgh had trouble with Fields, Jackson will give them 10x more.
3. Big Ben looks settled into this offense
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (Big Ben,) has had two games this season with a completion percentage at seventy or above. The good news for the Steelers is that two of those games have come in the past two weeks. The MNF crew went into detail about how much new Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada has changed the verbiage of the offense and it seems like he is finally starting to put it all together.
If Roethlisberger can get his weapons going, there might not be a better WR/WR/TE/RB combo in the NFL than the Steelers have with Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, Pat Friermuth, and Najee Harris. They have been putting the rest of the NFL on notice for the past month.
2. The defense stays looking suspect
The Steelers are just behind the middle of the pack when it comes to giving up passing yards (16th in the NFL) and the run defense is right about the same (14th in the NFL). Those are not the kind of numbers that are good enough for an offense led by Roethlisberger. He has shown that he is an average-armed QB at this point in his career.
If he is not going to get the deep ball going at the same rate that he has in the past, the team must compensate with a better defense in order to keep the scores of their games down. In their three-game winning streak coming into this one, the Steelers were giving up 18 points per game. This one was a bit of a letdown but a lot of it had to do with the play of Fields.
1. Don’t overlook Detroit
The Steelers are set to face the Lions this week, the only winless team in the NFL. After that, they have one of the hardest schedules in the NFL, including four division games, two games against playoff teams from 2020 (Chiefs and Titans), and road games against the Chargers and Vikings. Ouch. That one hurts just to type. Anyways, the Steelers definitely know what their future schedule looks like and they might end up overlooking a Detroit team that is as hungry as any in the league.
It is coach Mike Tomlin’s job to have his team ready to play against any opponent, but we all know there is only so much a coach can do. If the players don’t take the game seriously, the results will show up on the scoreboard. Just ask the Rams when they faced the Jets at home in 2020. LA was a 21 point favorite and lost….at home…anything can happen in the NFL.