The Pittsburgh Steelers dropped their Week 2 matchup to the Las Vegas Raiders in a game they were nearly favored by a touchdown. Given that, we’ll be doing our Steelers Week 2 takeaways post with a focus on what went wrong.
Things just never really clicked for the offense and the defense allowed too many big plays, including a 61 yard touchdown to Henry Ruggs III to really lock things up. Pittsburgh was able to spread the ball around to it’s receivers while throwing 40 times but they just never had the momentum. Let’s take a look at some takeaways from Week 2 for the Steelers
Steelers Week 2 Takeaways
1. The offense needs to get more creative
Aside from a nice catch and run from Najee Harris for his first career touchdown, nothing this Steelers offense did really surprised anything and that allowed the Raiders to slow them down. This Las Vegas defense isn’t anything special and seems to thrive in games like this where the offense is boring and predictable. Ben Roethlisberger threw 40 times to his big three receiving trio of Chase Claypool, and Juju Smith-Schuster and it worked fine, but it was nothing special.
The Steelers really want to get Najee Harris involved and it just hasn’t worked to this point on the ground. He carried the ball 10 times for 38 yards but when the Steelers threw him the ball good things happen. Expect more of that in coming weeks and Pittsburgh tries to jump start the offense. Harris had five catches for 43 yards and a touchdown in the air as the defense seemed to be caught off guard when he was thrown the ball. The Raiders were ready for him to run but not so much for him to play a role in the receiving game.
2. Defensive injuries are piling up in Pittsburgh
Before the Steelers even began playing on Sunday, they were set to miss linebacker Devin Bush and cornerback Joe Haden. If those two play maybe this game goes differently, but the injuries didn’t stop there for Pittsburgh. Two key members of the defensive line ended up getting hurt during the game. Defensive tackle Tyson Alualu left with an ankle injury and then star pass rusher T.J. Watt left with a groin issue. All four of these players are key starters the Steelers were missing as Derek Carr and the Raiders scored 26 points.
It’s unclear when all of these players will be returning but every game they miss only makes things harder for the Steelers. They’re headed to take on the Cincinnati Bengal and Green Bay Packers in the next couple weeks. Getting their defensive starters back to full health for those games will be key, especially against Green Bay if Aaron Rodgers can get back to his MVP form of 2020. We saw what this defense looked like against the Raiders and the Steelers would like to avoid that type of performance.
3. The offensive line isn’t playing well enough
This offense is scuffling with it’s scheme and making big plays already but the offensive line isn’t helping. As a group, they allowed 18 pressures to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who is possibly the least mobile quarterback in the NFL at his age. This group has been consistently good over the years but they’re aging and not playing how they want to play. The line needs to just play with power which is something they talked about all the way leading up to the season. You can tell they just haven’t been powerful enough.
Rookie running back Najee Harris is being given opportunities to show why he was taken in the first round but so far he hasn’t been able to find find any room. If this Steelers offense wants to perform up to it’s potential with the weapons it has surrounding Roethlisberger then the offensive line absolutely has to be better. The Raiders defensive line isn’t anything crazy but maybe they’ll be better as a group against Cincinnati in Week 3.