What a multitude.
Going into Sunday’s recreation towards the Cleveland Browns with rookie fifth-round quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson about to make his second NFL begin, it seemed like they had been lining up for the Steelers.
After which the sport was performed. The Steelers fell flat on their faces on the offensive facet of the soccer, except for Jaylen Warren, and at the moment are 6-4 on the season after an unsightly 13-10 loss to the Browns, who lead them within the AFC North rating.
The protection held Cleveland to only 3.5 yards per play, gained the turnover battle and compelled eight punts. Nonetheless, the Steelers misplaced the sport when Cleveland drove down the sector within the last minutes and made a game-winning subject objective. Pittsburgh’s offense squandered an excellent defensive efficiency, producing simply 249 yards of complete offense, together with simply 106 passing yards from Kenny Pickett.
Let’s go to some numbers.
One other week, one other horrible efficiency from Pickett.
It is changing into a theme with the offense beneath Pickett at this level. Place blame wherever you need with the offending points. The very fact stays that Pickett has been one of many worst beginning quarterbacks within the NFL over the past three weeks. He is simply not producing, not seeing issues he needs to be seeing, not attacking in the course of the sector and never aligning together with his receivers.
It is past worrying at this level.
Within the loss to the Browns, Pickett was simply 14 of 27 for 106 yards, a median of three.8 yards per completion – the identical quantity as Thompson-Robinson, who actually beat Pickett within the recreation.
The aggressiveness is simply not there. He would not throw deep, he will get excessive on throws typically, and he actually simply appears not sure of himself. He can say no matter he needs and at all times be assured, however his play and physique language within the recreation inform a special story.
Jaylen Warren ought to most likely be the Steelers’ beginning working again at this level. He is the offense now, and that is saying one thing.
Towards the Browns, Warren completed with a career-high 129 yards with one landing on 9 carries, ripping off a 74-yard landing run on the second play from scrimmage within the second half, breaking a deal with within the gap after which working away from everybody. He additionally added a 21-yard run that ought to realistically earn him this week’s “Indignant Runs” nod from Good Morning Soccer’s Kyle Brandt.
Warren additionally added three receptions for 16 yards, together with a key 14-yard achieve on a Third-and-13 to maneuver the chains and preserve the drive alive, resulting in the Steelers tying the sport.
Najee Harris wasn’t that unhealthy both, though it was very clear throughout the recreation that Cleveland was loading the field to take him away. Harris had 35 yards on 12 carries, however did run for 17 yards within the loss. He began the sport robust, averaging 5.3 yards per carry on the half, however then the Browns adjusted. The Steelers…did not.
It is exhausting to truly get to the receivers a technique or one other when the passing recreation is so unhealthy.
George Pickens led the Steelers with 4 receptions for 38 yards. He had an awesome seize late within the fourth quarter for a 12-yard achieve on a cross that was fairly unhealthy from Pickett. Pickens saved him. Pickens additionally had a 14-yard achieve down the sideline within the first half. But it surely was too few and much between within the passing recreation.
Diontae Johnson was visibly annoyed all through the sport. He and Pickett weren’t on the identical web page for the second week in a row. He had simply two catches for 16 yards, though he was focused eight occasions. Many throws additionally got here excessive in his course.
Allen Robinson II had an honest recreation, ending with three receptions for 20 yards, together with a key catch in visitors to arrange Pickett’s quarterback sneak for a primary down. He was additionally a key blocker all through the sport.
It was good to see Pat Freiermuth again within the lineup, however he was largely ineffective.
Freiermuth had one catch for seven yards on a well-timed tight finish display screen, however he ran straight into the again of his blocker and into the grasp of the one defender inside 5-10 yards of him, with out seeing the inexperienced grass round him. . He was additionally a clean as a blocker and was blown into the backfield a number of occasions within the run recreation.
Darnell Washington additionally actually struggled within the run recreation. He obtained his butt knocked on one play that resulted in a loss to the Steelers and general did not have a lot of an impression. He additionally had one catch for eight yards, however it got here simply behind the sticks on third down.
I favored the work the offensive linemen did on the bottom all recreation lengthy.
They opened up a variety of holes for Warren and Harris and actually went after the Browns downhill. Broderick Jones and Mason Cole had key blocks to spring Warren on his 74-yard landing, whereas Isaac Seumalo had a pleasant block on Warren’s 12-yard run within the fourth quarter.
Nonetheless, there have been some misses within the run recreation. Seumalo obtained blown up on a Najee Harris run within the fourth quarter, stalling a drive, whereas James Daniels had some points at occasions. Nonetheless, Seumalo and Daniels had been good on the display screen recreation, as was Cole.
Dan Moore Jr. had a horrible repute early within the recreation, resulting in a Myles Garrett sack that ought to have been a security. Garrett additionally added a sack later within the recreation to complete with two within the recreation. The Browns had three sacks and 4 quarterback hits within the win.
Pittsburgh held the Browns beneath 100 speeding yards and took away what Cleveland loves most. The Browns rushed for simply 3.3 yards per carry within the win. That is a really respectable quantity for the Steelers to maintain.
The Steelers managed the entrance defensively all through. Cameron Heyward had 5 tackles and one deal with for loss, dwelling in Cleveland’s backfield.
Keeanu Benton had 4 tackles and had a key efficiency for the second week in a row. Armon Watts had three tackles as a key rotation piece and Larry Ogunjobi had one deal with and one quarterback hit, although he was busy with the soccer fairly a bit.
Pittsburgh additionally held its floor on the objective line within the first quarter. There was no substantial proof to vary that decision to a landing, no matter what Gene Steratore claimed.
The one actual downside with the defensive position is that it did not apply a lot strain in any respect. A bit troublesome to do when Cleveland was persistently getting the ball off in 2.2 seconds.
Take a bow, Elandon Roberts.
The veteran was the perfect defensive participant on the sector on Sunday. Roberts completed with 15 tackles and two tackles for loss. He was all over the place that day. With the Steelers being fairly skinny on the ILB place as a consequence of accidents, Roberts took an enormous step ahead. There have been some communication points at occasions, however that was to be anticipated with so many new faces.
Nonetheless, Roberts performed an awesome recreation.
Mykal Walker had two tackles in his Steelers debut, though he did have a missed deal with simply earlier than Cleveland’s landing. He whiffed on Jerome Ford within the backfield and arrange Ford’s landing a play later. Mark Robinson did not get many factors and solely had one deal with.
Outdoors, TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith had been largely quiet as cross rushers, however that is extra as a consequence of how rapidly Cleveland obtained the soccer out than the Browns’ tackles successful the matchups. Watt had a sack within the fourth quarter that helped Pittsburgh’s protection get off the sector. He had six tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss and three quarterback hits for the Steelers.
Highsmith had six tackles and performed nicely towards the run to set the lead. Nonetheless, the Browns merely had the fitting recreation plan.
Rookie Joey Porter Jr. was given the powerful task by Amari Cooper. He has behaved nicely in current weeks, however he struggled towards Cooper. Two penalties had been awarded, giving him six within the final two weeks. He actually struggled as a press man towards Cooper, giving up some key completions, particularly on the ultimate drive of the sport.
Studying expertise for the rookie, little doubt. Porter completed with six tackles and had a cross breakup in the long run zone late within the first half, forcing Cleveland to accept a subject objective.
Patrick Peterson had a pleasant play in protection, leaping a path to beat a cross, however exterior of that it was fairly quiet. Chandon Sullivan recorded his first profession interception for the Steelers, selecting off a deflected cross to offer the Steelers the ball again within the third quarter.
Security Trenton Thompson had some moments in his first begin with the Steelers. He had six tackles, was busy with the soccer and may have had a pick-six within the second half. However the solar shone in his eyes and brought about him to drop the cross. Damontae Kazee had 5 tackles within the loss and was flying round, as did Elijah Riley earlier than leaving the sport with an ankle harm and being dominated out.
Particular groups — B-
Chris Boswell made his 28-yard subject objective and added an additional level, though the Browns obtained the additional level. Nonetheless, Boswell was just too highly effective and muscled the ball by means of the upright for the additional level after Warren’s future.
Pressley Harvin III was good at occasions, however had a woeful 20-yard punt within the fourth quarter that just about value the Steelers. He can go weeks with out errors, however then they arrive quick and livid. He averaged simply 39.4 yards on eight punts, with the Steelers bringing down 4 punts contained in the opponent’s 20-yard line. He additionally beat his protection as soon as, permitting Cleveland’s James Proche to tear off a 21-yard punt return to offer the Browns a pleasant lead.
Calvin Austin III had a pleasant day within the return recreation after his first punt return, bouncing the ball contained in the 10-yard line, placing the Steelers in unhealthy subject place for his or her first drive of the sport.
Austin averaged 17 yards per punt return and had a return of 21 yards himself.