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A level-headed news-discussion site with a sense of history and community 2022-09-30T18:45:00-04:00
Updated: 1 hour 40 min ago

Steelers expected to sign David Anenih off the Titans’ practice squad

Thu, 09/15/2022 - 7:10am
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to sign a Titans practice squad player to their 53-man roster.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to make a roster moving in the coming days, and it is for a pass rusher. This news should come as a shock to no one, considering the injury to T.J. Watt during the team’s Week 1 game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.

After bringing in two new players to the practice squad, the question was whether or not the team would just promote a practice squad player for at least the Week 2 game vs. the New England Patriots. It is now being reported the team plans on going outside the organization to fill the void.

According to Field Yates of ESPN, the team is planning on signing outside linebacker David Anenih off the Tennesee Titans’ practice squad. Since signing Anenih off the practice squad, he would have to be signed to their 53-man roster.

The Steelers are signing OLB David Anenih to their 53-man roster off of the Titans practice squad, per source.

Whether today as a corresponding roster move or later this week, the Steelers are also expected to place T.J. Watt on IR, per source.

— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 15, 2022

Anenih is a 6’2” 245lb pass rusher who attended the University of Houston before being picked up as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Titans. He played 116 defensive snaps during the preseason where he had 3.0 sacks and four tackles according to Pro Football Focus. Although Anenih didn’t make the 53-man roster, he did earn himself a spot on the team’s 16-man practice squad. Obviously, he now finds himself in a unique position to join a depth chart with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Yates also added how to make room on the roster, the Steelers would make the move official of putting Watt on the Injured Reserve (IR) list. The team has flexibility on when they make this move, with the deadline being the end of the week.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Patriots at Acrisure Stadium this Sunday at 1 pm ET.

Chris Boswell had some nerve acting surprised after missing a 55-yard field goal

Thu, 09/15/2022 - 6:00am
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Why was Steelers kicker Chris Boswell so shocked after missing from 55 yards away late in the overtime period of Sunday’s Week 1 win over the Bengals? Because NFL kickers have become dangerously good.

How many uprights has kicker Chris Boswell hit during his eight-year career that officially began with the Steelers during the 2015 regular season?

I’m sure he’s clanged or thudded a few off of the uprights over the years. It happens. It’s part of the job. When you’re often attempting field goals from 40-plus yards away, a football could go anywhere once Mother Nature (or an indoor air-conditioning system) grabs a hold of that sucker after you’ve launched it into space.

There’s even more uncertainty of a football’s trajectory when a kicker attempts a field goal from 50-plus yards away, which Boswell did late in the overtime period of Sunday’s Week 1 game against the Bengals at Paycor Stadium.

The attempt was from 55 yards, in fact, a distance that used to inspire many prayers by a kicker, his family and his team’s fans. Boswell missed, unfortunately, as his game-winning attempt—you guessed it—crashed into the left upright with a resounding thud and ricocheted back toward the field.

But instead of acting like his attempt was a 50-50 proposition, at best, Boswell acted like he had just missed a chip shot and did the Young College Football Fan Who Just Witnessed The Home Team Lose To An Underdog pose by placing his hands on his helmet in disbelief.

Some of his teammates struck the same pose after Boswell’s field goal try went awry. Heck, punter Pressley Harvin, who doubles as the holder on field goals and extra points, looked like he wanted to fight someone as he walked off the field following the miss.

The nerve of Boswell acting surprised after his miss. I tell ya, these kickers are getting too big for their britches.

Actually, in defense of Boswell, and his teammates, I was also pretty darn shocked that Boswell’s long try wasn’t true.

In fact, I thought the game was over the moment Pittsburgh’s offense nudged the football inside the Bengals’ 40-yard line.

Why did I feel that way? Have you seen the number of 50-plus yard kicks Boswell has made in recent years, including a 56-yard field goal last September at the previously named Heinz Field—a record for a venue that once chewed kickers up and spit them out?

There was no doubt in my mind that Boswell would make it.

Unfortunately, that’s also how I felt midway through the first quarter when Bengals kicker Evan McPherson lined up for a 59-yard try. Not only was McPherson’s kick true, but the CBS broadcast crew showed the same kind of emotion that used to be saved for successful 39-yard attempts.

I turned 50 a few months ago, and while I continue to delude myself into thinking 50 is the new 40, there is no question this is true when it comes to the distances NFL kickers can confidently make field goals from in the modern era.

NFL kickers are turning into the same freakish athletes as their seemingly more rugged colleagues. For example, Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker hurt his ankle during Kansas City’s blowout win over the Cardinals on Sunday and still managed to come back into the game and nail a 54-yard try.

Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett was roundly criticized for sending kicker Brandon McManus out to attempt a game-winning 64-yard field goal against the Seahawks on Monday Night Football.

McManus missed, and the Seahawks held on for a 17-16 win.

It was fourth and five from the Seahawks' 46 when Hackett decided to go with his kicker. “Why pay Russell Wilson $245 million if you don’t trust him to convert on fourth and five?” asked Hackett’s critics in hindsight.

Good point. Why not give Wilson, one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL who was returning to Seattle to face his old team, the chance to win the game?

But while that would have made total sense as recently as 10 years ago, to reiterate, times have changed with the modern NFL kicker.

Hackett’s coaching decision made perfect to me the second I saw McManus run out onto the field.

Kickers have now weaponized the 50-yard line.

Justin Tucker defeated the Lions with a record-setting 66-yard field goal last year, a distance I’m fairly confident will be topped by him or someone else sooner rather than later.

Boswell is as good a candidate as any. The reason his miss made such a loud thud when it hit the upright on Sunday was that it wasn’t your typical field goal try where the football spins end over end as it approaches its target. No, Boswell’s try looked like a heat-seeking missile that was spinning every which way and, if not for smacking off of the upright, may have traveled another 15 yards.

Modern NFL kickers have become such weapons, that they’re taking the football out of Russell Wilson’s hands on fourth and five from midfield.

No wonder Chris Boswell had the nerve to not act surprised when he finally ended Sunday’s game from 53 yards away.

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Thu, 09/15/2022 - 4:30am

Get the latest BTSC podcast content in the ‘Podcast Roundup’.

Steelers 2022 is ongoing and we here at BTSC, and our podcast platform, are here with you every step of the way. In the past we have given you the podcasts in individual articles on the BTSC website, but we’ve decided to go with a ‘Podcast Roundup’ article which has the latest three podcasts for your enjoyment. The reasoning behind this is to take up less space on the site for the great written content we have at BTSC.

With that being said or typed, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each show:

The War Room: A mixed bag of rookie performances

Join Matty P. for his solo show as he examines the ins-and-outs of the Steelers in an attempt to put you in the mind of Art Rooney II, Mike Tomlin, Omar Khan, Andy Weidl, Sheldon White and Dan Colbert when it comes to personnel. On this week’s show, Matty previews the rookies for the opposing team, reviews the Steelers rookies’ performances against Cincy, and highlights draft prospect, Jarrett Patterson, C, Notre Dame.

Rundown of the show:

  • Opening Week Thoughts
  • Week 1 Rookie Review
  • Week 2 Rookie Preview
  • Draft Spotlight: Jarrett Patterson, C, Notre Dame.
  • Much More

Check out the BTSC’s Aussie perspective and stay a while with Matty in The Steelers War Room.

Know Your Enemy: Are the Steelers still facing the same “Bill” of goods?

It’s time once again to become a scout for the Steelers before their latest game. This time around, we get to know more about the Patriots of New England in the latest edition of Know Your Enemy. It’s the show where Geoffrey Benedict and Shannon White break down the upcoming opponent for the black-and-gold. This week, Geoff and Shannon welcome Pat Lane from Pats Pulpit

  • News and Notes
  • A look at the 2022 New England Patriots
  • Special Guest: Pat Lane from Pats Pulpit

Geoffrey and BAD walk you through everything you need to know regarding the black-and-gold.

The Steelers Stat Geek: Digging into digits that determine decisions

In the opener, Najee Harris getting injured and having a timeout get charged to the Steelers and not the Bengals changed how the end of the game was played out. Join the Stat Geek as he looks at specific plays (yardage, downs & distances, and times) and explains how the numbers play out going forward determined what teams ultimately decide to do. Thank goodness for the Stat Geek to break it all “dahn”. This is just one of the topics that will be discussed by Dave Schofield on the Thursday episode of the AM podcast lineup, “The Steelers Stat Geek”. Join BTSC’s Editor as he pulls out the Steelers slide rule and geeks out only like he can.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Stats that decisions are based on
  • and more geeky numbers!

Be sure to check out this and all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE


Google Play: CLICK HERE

Steelers Injury Report: Najee Harris limited on Wednesday

Wed, 09/14/2022 - 2:40pm
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

There were five players on the Steelers first injury report of Week 2.

The Pittsburgh Steelers exited their Week 1 victory in Cincinnati with several significant injuries. As the Steelers take the practice field for their first official day of preparation for the New England Patriots, there was one player who did not participate while three were limited. In the first injury report of the week courtesy of the Steelers PR department, T.J. Watt did not practice while Mason Cole, Najee Harris, and Levi Wallace were all limited.

Steelers PR Department

It should be noted outside linebacker T.J. Watt will be on the injury report as long as he is on the Steelers 53-man roster. The Steelers have until 4 PM on Saturday to have this week’s game count as one of four missed before he could return to the roster. Watt has already been ruled out for this week and the current estimate is he will miss at least six weeks as he rehabs his pectoral injury.

Running back Najee Harris left Sunday’s game at the end of the fourth quarter and did not return due to a foot injury. On Tuesday, head coach Mike Tomlin said in his press conference that it was not a re-aggravation of the Lisfranc injury Harris suffered in training camp. Despite Harris saying he is good to go for Sunday, in Wednesday’s practice he was listed as a limited participant.

Another player mention in Coach Tomlin‘s press conference on Tuesday was center Mason Cole with an ankle injury. In Wednesday’s practice, Cole was limited.

One player who did not return to the game Sunday and there was not an update in the press conference on Tuesday is cornerback Levi Wallace. Dealing with an ankle injury, Wallace was another limited participant.

The final player on the injury report was linebacker Robert Spillane who left Sunday’s game with an eye injury. On Wednesday, Spillane was able to participate fully in practice.

As for the Patriots’ injury report, you can see the names below when available.

Power Rankings: Steelers remain middle-of-the-road after Week 1

Wed, 09/14/2022 - 1:00pm
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

An updated look at the NFL Landscape after a crazy opening week in the NFL.

Your Pittsburgh Steelers are 1-0!

The Cowboys are a mess.

Miami shoots up the Rankings.

These are some of the highlights of a crazy NFL Week 1 that are reflected in my Week 2 Power Rankings. In my Preseason Rankings, I mentioned that teams 8-22 were so close together that anything could happen. We see our first examples of this, with Miami taking a HUGE leap (10 slots) and Dallas dropping from 8 all the way to 21.

This week, I’m taking a look at one thing that flashed from each Franchise in Week 1. I’ll take a deeper look at the Steelers each week than the other squads, focusing on what I saw from the team and what it means going forward.

Ranking the Steelers was such a tough exercise this week with the unfortunate news we’re all aware of following the nerve-wracking performance in Cincinnati that resulted somehow in a win. I get into all that and more below.


Previous: 1

What flashed: The pass rush looks like a new monster with Vonn Miller leading the charge to the tune of 3 sacks in his inaugural Bills appearance.


Previous: 3

What flashed: Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are unstoppable no matter who else is on the field with them on offense.


Previous: 6

What flashed: The Khalil Mack pick-up paid off early dividends as the former All-Pro led a vicious LAC pass rush that squelched the Raiders early.


Previous: 4

What flashed: It wasn’t pretty for the Bucs against a beat up Cowboys team, but Julio Jones looked rejuvenated in his Tampa Bay debut with Brady at the helm.


Previous: 2

What flashed: Cooper Kupp is the Rams offense, but he’s gonna need some help from someone to keep this team from being too one-dimensional.


Previous: 11

What flashed: Jalen Hurts to AJ Brown is going to be hard to stop for opposing defenses.


Previous: 5

What flashed: The Packers RB duo of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon averaged a combined 7.2 yds per carry, but were limited in a game script that saw the Packers forced to throw to keep up.


Previous: 10

What flashed: Although a presumed weak spot on the roster heading into the season, Wide Receivers caught all 3 of Lamar Jackson’s TD passes.


Previous: 7

What flashed: The Bengals held a talented group of Steelers pass catchers to less than 200 total yds through 4 quarters and a full overtime period.


Previous: 17

What flashed: Justin Jefferson might be the league’s best WR, racking up 184 yds on only 9 catches for 2 TDs and 20.4 yds/rec.


Previous: 21 *RISER OF THE WEEK

What flashed: Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Literally. Those boys are fast.


Previous: 12

What flashed: Jerry Jeudy looked explosive hauling in a big-time 67-yard TD where he caught a pretty ball in stride and did the rest with his legs.


Previous: 14

What flashed: Derek Carr to Devonte Adams got rolling quick, with Carr targeting the former Packer a whopping 17 times.


Previous: 9

What flashed: Michael Pittman is a star in the making, hauling in a 9/121/1 receiving line on 13 targets.


Previous: 13

If T.J. Watt isn’t injured in this game, the Steelers likely climb to 12 in my rankings after the win. But instead, it’s a bit of a fall because Watt is just that impactful for this team. The good news is, their next 3 games are all winnable even without the 2021 DPOY, and it’s looking like Watt could be back, even before the bye week (9). If he misses a bunch more time than that, though, the season looks pretty bleak. The pass rush disappeared when Watt did, and Teryl Austin will need to find ways to manufacture pressure without the star OLB on the field.

This team will go as far as the Defense can take it. As if there wasn’t enough already, Cam Heyward and Minkah Fitzpatrick will have added pressure on their shoulders to carry an offense that may take a while to find it’s feet.

That’s not to say there wasn’t good for Pittsburgh in this game. Alex Highsmith looked dominant in the first half, and the secondary was extremely opportunistic, with Fitzpatrick, Cam Sutton, and Akhello Witherspoon reeling in 3 of the team’s 4 INTs. Trubisky made the plays needed at the end of the game and didn’t make the backbreaking mistake. Pat Freiermuth had 5 catches for 75 yards and looks like he will be a season-long impact player at TE.

What’s Next? The Steelers host the New England Patriots and their similarly struggling offense. Even without Watt, the Steelers have a good chance to go 2-0 in front of a hyper Heinz... I mean, Acrisure Stadium crowd on Sunday at 1pm.


Previous: 18

What flashed: Rookie kicker Cade York endeared himself to all of Cleveland with his walk-off 58-yarder that likely would’ve been good from 70. As an aside, the AFC North might well be on it’s way to sweeping the Kicker Awards Podium with Tucker, Boswell, McPherson, and York.


Previous: 19

What flashed: Jarvis Landry was an unsung addition in Free Agency for ‘Nola, but had easily the best game for the Saints on offense, helping his team make the biggest comeback of the weekend.


Previous: 16

What flashed: Derrick Henry handled his large workload well, despite not breaking off a true Henry-esque stat line, but health doesn’t appear to be an issue for the big back.


Previous: 15

What flashed: Trey Lance is already special with his legs, but he’ll need to improve in his ability to read the field as a passer to really become a starting caliber QB in the NFL.


Previous: 20

What flashed: The Defense gave up a couple big plays, but otherwise played sound football, limiting the explosive Dolphins to just one Offensive TD on the day.



What flashed: Micah Parsons is an absolute animal for the ‘Boys, sacking Tom Brady twice and impacting the game from multiple different positions on the defense.


Previous: 23

What flashed: BARKLEY IS BACK!! Saquon rushed for 164 yds and a TD and looked explosive again finally after 2 injury-plagued years.


Previous: 29

What flashed: Carson Wentz looked really good against his former Coach’s Jaguars, spreading the ball around to a bevy of playmakers to the tune of 313 passing yards and 4 TDs.


Previous: 26

What flashed: Geno Smith went blow for blow with Russell Wilson in the latter’s return to Seattle, playing mistake-free ball and allowing his playmakers to make plays.


Previous: 22

What flashed: Kyler Murray is having to do it all for the Cards, and despite his obvious talent as a scrambler and passer, he needs some help from someone for this offense to be a true force.


Previous: 24

What flashed: Robby Anderson was the Panthers’ best offensive player in week one, putting up an impressive 5/102/1 stat line against a good Browns secondary.


Previous: 28

What flashed: DeAndre Swift ran like a man possessed against a strong Philly front 7 with 144 yards rushing on only 15 carries. That’s a 9.6 yard average.


Previous: 31

What flashed: Justin Fields made strides on a day where his team was a heavy underdog. His 51 yd TD strike to Donte Pettis was a thing of beauty.


Previous: 25

What flashed: Trevor Lawrence had a killer INT late in this game, but the team’s offensive playmakers looked pretty impressive despite the losing effort against Washington.


Previous: 30

What flashed: It was the biggest heartbreak loss of Week 1, but the Falcons showed they can be competitive with Marcus Mariota playing clean football and Cordarelle Patterson continuing his explosive ways.


Previous: 32

What flashed: A poor running game didn’t help, but Davis Mills continues to make a play here and there that makes you think he can be a starter in this league for a while.


Previous: 27

What flashed: Despite the lopsided score, the Jets’ Defense was active against the Ravens, holding Baltimore’s usually potent rushing attack to a mere 63 yards and a 3.0 average.

Who’s too high? Too low? What did I get right? Let me know about it in the comments section and don't forget to vote in the poll below.

Steelers Burning Questions: Does Week 1 change your outlook?

Wed, 09/14/2022 - 11:45am
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers were winners in Week 1, but it wasn’t always pretty. How has the OT win impacted your outlook on the season?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for their Week 2 game vs. the New England Patriots, and many fans of the black and gold are starting to see their confidence fluctuate heading into the games which actually count.

Even after a Week 1 win, a 23-20 overtime victory vs. the Cincinnati Bengals, there are still massive questions which remain.

So, with that being said, it is time to ask some key questions to the fan base as the Patriots game quickly approaches. We call them the ‘Steelers Burning Questions’, and there is one which is consistent every week.

Are you confident in the team moving forward?

Other than that staple question, some other questions can be added to help give readers at BTSC, and Steelers fans in general, a voice in what they think about the team. This week the question is based on what you witnessed at the quarterback position during Week 1.

Considering Mitch Trubisky’s play, and Mike Tomlin’s verbal trust/faith in him as the team’s quarterback, the next question is looking at the position for the duration of the 2022 regular season.

How many games do you see Kenny Pickett starting this season?

How do you participate in this exercise? It’s easy. All you have to do is scroll down to the polls and place your vote. The results of the votes will be published on BTSC later in the week, but getting as many votes as possible is the key with the SB Nation Reacts, powered by DraftKings Sportsbook.

So, go ahead in place your votes below, and feel free to explain yourself in the comment section below the article! In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the regular season.

Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NFL. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in Pittsburgh Steelers fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to participate.

Please take our survey

Steelers Vertex: The Minkah Effect was on display in Week 1

Wed, 09/14/2022 - 10:30am
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Minkah Fitzpatrick influenced Sunday’s game in a number of ways, not just during the splash plays.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 regular season is underway. The Steelers left Cincinnati with an overtime win against the reigning AFC champions.It took some great individual performances to secure the victory, with many coming on the defensive side of the ball. One particular player was the AFC Defensive Player of the Week in Minkah Fitzpatrick. So how did Fitzpatrick alter the outcome of Sunday’s game? This is the subject for this week’s Steelers Vertex.

Let’s get a quick reminder of where this nerdiness is coming from.

Vertex- a single point where two or more lines cross.

Sometimes to make a great point, it takes two different systems of analysis to come together and build off each other in order to drawl a proper conclusion. In this case, the two methods are statistical analysis and film breakdown. Enter Dave Schofield (the stat geek) and Geoffrey Benedict (the film guru) to come together to prove a single point based on our two lines of thinking.

Here comes the breakdown from two different lines of analysis.

The Stats Line:

Minkah Fitzpatrick had several key statistics which helped earn him AFC Defensive Player of the Week to start the 2022 season. Fitzpatrick had 14 tackles in the game and an interception which was returned 31 yards for a touchdown On 100 defensive snaps. Fitzpatrick also saw the field on 4 special team snaps, all of which were on the field goal block team. Fitzpatrick came up with the key block on the extra point at the end of regulation to send the game of the overtime.

Looking at some of the advanced stats according to Pro Football Reference, Fitzpatrick was targeted eight times with five completions for 54 yards. Although he was deemed the target on many of these plays, it was not necessarily that Fitzpatrick was in deep coverage as the average depth of targets on when he was determined to be the defender was only 3.9 yards. This means passes where Fitzpatrick was the defender were mainly around the line of scrimmage or he was coming up to make the play. Additionally, Fitzpatrick was not charged with any missed tackles in the game.

Although Minkah Fitzpatrick had a big impact on the game on a number of specific plays, there was more to his stellar play than those snaps. Let’s see if any of them show up in the film.

The Film Line:

Minkah Fitzpatrick wasted no time making his presence felt, turning Joe Burrow’s first pass attempt of 2022 into a Steelers touchdown.

Steelers at Bengals, 1st quarter, 12:52.

Minkah Fitzpatrick (#39) is the deep safety to the right side of the screen.

The Bengals didn’t play their starters on offense at all in the preseason, and the rust showed up on this play. Fitzpatrick was ready to pounce and gave the Steelers a 7-0 lead. The play of the game is usually a play from later in the game, especially in a game like this one that went to the end of overtime. But the biggest play of the game was this one, giving the Steelers a lead right off the bat and, perhaps more importantly, shaking the Bengals confidence and changing their game plan.

Steelers at Bengals, 1st quarter, 12:06.

Minkah Fitzpatrick (#39) is on the line, farthest to the top of the screen.

The Steelers didn’t just leave Minkah Fitzpatrick in deep zone though, they moved him around a lot. That was a great strategy, not just for helping contain Joe Mixon either. After the pick-6 Joe Burrow avoided throwing too close to Minkah Fitzpatrick, and the more Fitzpatrick moved around, the less the Bengals could game plan their offensive plays to avoid him.

Steelers at Bengals, 4th quarter, 0:02.

Minkah Fitzpatrick (#39) is second from the left side of the screen.

The television broadcast pinned this one on the snapper, but the real problem here is the lack of a block on Fitzpatrick. Watch how Cameron Sutton is able to drive #89 for the Bengals off of Fitzpatrick. Minkah Fitzpatrick is not slowed at all on his path to the ball, and his quick extension is just enough to send this game into overtime, where Fitzpatrick would find a way to impact the game even more, often without showing up on the stat sheet at all.

Steelers at Bengals, Overtime, 6:08.

Minkah Fitzpatrick (#39) is the deep safety to the bottom of the screen.

First off, notice the movement of the safeties to start this play. Edmunds and Fitzpatrick are right near each other and split late. They did this often in this game. Usually Fitzpatrick is the field side safety and Edmunds the boundary safety. Field side means the side where the ball is farthest from the sideline, boundary side is the smaller side of the field. Because Ja’Marr Chase frequently lines up on the boundary side, the Steelers flipped that alignment a good bit to give that side more help. But they didn’t always do it.

By delaying the reveal of which side they were defending, the Steelers added more difficulty in diagnosing the defense. Then right at the snap, Edmunds drops and Fitzpatrick comes forward and they aren’t even in a two-deep safety defense. This is a run play, and Fitzpatrick coming up to limit the gain here is nice, and frequent plays like this helped bolster the Steelers run defense and helped Minkah lead the team in tackles. But this play also shows how much mental work Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds were making Joe Burrow do just to avoid Fitzpatrick.

Steelers at Bengals, Overtime, 4:07.

Minkah Fitzpatrick (#39) is the deep safety to the top of the screen.

I love this play by Fitzpatrick. He’s coming forward at the start of the play, as he and the rest of the defense are worried about the run play, but the second he sees it isn’t a run he heads directly to where the ball is going to go. Fitzpatrick is incredibly smart and relentless in film study. His read and react goes beyond his natural assignment and frequently shows up in plays like this. The play design works, no one that should be responsible for the tight end is anywhere close to him. Fitzpatrick was almost single-handedly holding the Bengals in check, limiting the run game, countering down their schemes, and taking away huge sections of the field.

Steelers at Bengals, Overtime, 2:22.

Minkah Fitzpatrick (#39) is the deep safety to the top of the screen.

I included this play because it shows really well something that I noticed almost the entire game.

The Steelers blitz here, and with the linebackers both rushing, the running back is Burrow’s outlet. But Burrow doesn’t look that way at all, he sets himself to his left immediately, and even when he’s escaping pressure he’s not looking to the right. You can see the running back’s frustration. It’s been mentioned a good bit that Joe Burrow wasn’t reading the field well in Week 1, but it was more than that. Joe Burrow was avoiding Minkah Fitzpatrick as much as he could. It would have led to a sack on this play, but rookie DeMarvin Leal (#98) gives up contain and let’s Burrow escape, a rookie mistake on what was mostly a good day for the young man.

The Point:

Minkah’s huge Week 1 game against the Bengals will be remembered for the big plays, and rightly so as they were incredibly important factors in the Steelers victory. But Minkah Fitzpatrick was a big part of every play the Steelers were on defense, and he was on the field for 100 defensive snaps. While the flashy statistics showed up this week, Fitzpatrick’s influence on a play-by-play basis may not always show similarly on the stat sheet.

It didn’t take long for Mitch Trubisky to find himself in the crosshairs of Steelers fans

Wed, 09/14/2022 - 9:00am
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

It took less than one regular season game for many Steelers fans to decide that they have already seen enough of Mitch Trubisky and the kind of quarterback he can be in the post-Ben Roethlisberger era.

With a stat line that included 21 of 38 pass completions for 194 yards and a touchdown, quarterback Mitch Trubisky certainly didn’t deserve any high praise following the Steelers' 23-20 overtime victory over the Bengals at Paycor Stadium on Sunday.

Throw in the now all-too-familiar-to-Steelers-fans 5.1 yards per pass attempt, the plethora of quick dropbacks followed by ineffective-to-worse sideline and back-shoulder passes, as well as an unwillingness to attack the middle of the field, and it’s easy to see how Trubisky would draw the ire of Steelers fans both far and wide.

But have we already seen enough of Trubisky? At least one Steelers fan thinks so, and he wasn’t shy about expressing that sentiment late in the third quarter of Sunday’s game:

“Yup I've seen enough of Mitch...” tweeted an anonymous Steelers fan whose name I will protect for fear of getting punched. “And all of you “Mitch-Truthers” have to.” (I will also protect his name for the improper use of "to.")

There it is. That didn’t take long, now, did it? I don’t know what a “Mitch-Truther is,” but if it’s a person who might actually be pulling for Trubisky and/or thinks he’s a good quarterback, well...let’s just say I miss the days when sports fans could like certain players without being called truthers, cult members, etc.

Anyway, the moral of the story is this: Trubisky can no longer hide behind Mason Rudolph and the blind rage Steelers fans had for him all throughout the offseason and the preseason.

It’s Trubisky’s turn in the barrel, as they say.

If Trubisky doesn’t improve his productivity and do so in a hurry, it won’t be long before fans are calling for Kenny Pickett, the 2022 first-round pick, to be the starting quarterback. In fact, they already are calling for Pickett to start. “How long of a leash do you give Trubisky?” was a question fans and talk show hosts were asking before the start of the regular season.

Imagine what they’re going to say now, as Pittsburgh prepares for the New England Patriots to come to town for a Week 2 matchup at Acrisure Stadium this Sunday?

You won’t have to imagine because it’s going to be a lot of pro-Pickett propaganda and anti-Trubisky vitriol.

But we should have expected this, right? This is life without a franchise quarterback. This is what happens when that guy finally retires after 18 years and leaves behind a void that can only be filled with another great quarterback or a great quarterback controversy.

It’s pretty obvious what is already filling the void in the absence of Ben Roethlisberger and his magical ways.

So how long should Trubisky’s leash really be? That’s a cute question to ask in the offseason when people are more likely to give logical responses.

But that leash gets a lot shorter once the regular season starts and the very first performance is below the line. As far as many Steelers fans are concerned, Mitch Trubisky doesn’t even deserve a leash after Sunday’s performance and should be forever banished to the dog house.

Welcome to the post-Big Ben era.

Minkah Fitzpatrick named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 1

Wed, 09/14/2022 - 7:52am
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It was Fitzpatrick’s splash plays on defense and special teams that made highlight clips from around the league.

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a stellar defensive performance forcing five turnovers on their way to a 23-20 overtime victory over the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals. Despite a great team effort on defense, one player in particular was noted above the rest. For Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season, Minkah Fitzpatrick was selected the AFC Defensive Player of the Week.

Minkah Magic @minkfitz_21 has been named Week 1's AFC Defensive Player of the Week‼️


— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 14, 2022

Fitzpatrick made a number of big plays for the Steelers defense throughout Sunday’s contest. On the second play of the Bengals first possession of the game, Fitzpatrick intercepted quarterback Joe Burrow and returned it 31 yards for the Steelers first score of the 2022 season. Defensively, Fitzpatrick led the Steelers with 14 tackles while playing 100 snaps.

But it was not merely Fitzpatrick‘s contributions on defense which were noted as he also made a game-saving play on special teams. With 0:02 remaining in the game and the Bengals lined up for what would be a game-winning PAT, Fitzpatrick was the player who came around the defensive right side and got his hand on the ball in order to block the kick and send the game into overtime.

Since joining the Steelers via trade in 2019, Fitzpatrick has been selected to two Pro Bowls as well as being named First-Team All-Pro in 2019 and 2020. This offseason, Fitzpatrick signed a contract extension keeping him in Pittsburgh for the next five seasons.

Congratulations to Minkah Fitzpatrick on the recognition of a great game to start the 2022 NFL season.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain as the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare to face the New England Patriots this Sunday at Acresure Stadium.

10 players mentioned by Mike Tomlin during Tuesday’s press conference

Wed, 09/14/2022 - 7:15am
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Steelers head coach held his weekly press conference with the Pittsburgh media on Tuesday.

As expected in a typical regular season week, we had a Mike Tomlin press conference on Tuesday. With many players discussed, it’s time for another players mentioned by Coach Tomlin during his media time. Remember these are current players where a specific question was asked during the Q&A period.

T.J. Watt

The biggest point of the press conference was how many wanted to get an update on the injury to T.J. Watt. Coach Tomlin was asked, since he was only ruling Watt out for this week, that if it suggested they aren’t looking at the worst-case scenario.

“That does suggest that, yes.”

In a follow-up question, Tomlin was asked if Injured Reserve is still a consideration for Watt.

“We’ve got time to make decisions such as that. Our decisions that have to be made by the end of the week relative to this game being encountered, and so we’ve got time there. We’re not in a hurry to gather information too quickly. We’ll see how his body responds, we’ll get second and third opinions and at the end of the week, or at some point, we’ll do what’s appropriate.”

In another follow-up question, Tomlin was asked if he anticipated bringing in outside help in regards to Watt’s long-term availability.

“At the very least, we need outside help for practice. I think maybe we’ve worked some people out already today in that vein, but whether or not it leads to participation remains to be seen.”

In another follow-up question, Tomlin was asked if he could definitively say that surgery has been ruled out for Watt.

“I can’t definitively say anything when we’re pursuing second and third opinions.”

In yet another follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked if he has to protect T.J. Watt from himself wanting to get back out there.

“That’s an honor to do it. I’d rather say ‘woah’ than ‘sick ‘em.’ What are we talking about? We’re talking about protecting a highly competitive, talented guy. That’s the job, so I’m not going to act like that’s a problem.”

In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked if it was normal to get second and third opinions on this injury since they have dealt with players who have had it before such as Stephon Tuitt in 2019 and Cam Heyward in 2016.

“You know more than I do if you know his injury is just like those others that you mentioned.”

In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked when it comes to T.J. Watt how he puts words to the tangible impact he has on the defense as a leader.

“I don’t. He doesn’t need any endorsement from me. It’s T.J. Watt. His hardware and resume speak for itself.”

Jamir Jones

One of the players who will be looking to carry the load in the absence of T.J. Watt is linebacker Jamir Jones. Coach Tomlin was asked what he saw in Jones to make the Steelers wants to bring him back this year.

“We had a good experience with him last time. You’ve got to make decisions week in and week out in an effort to field the very best group for that specific task, and sometimes young guys and guys on the fringe if you willget lost in the shuffle. Somebody claimed him and we had to move on. We had an opportunity to reconnect and usually, you guys know us, we will do repeat business if it’s a good relationship. So, he’s one of those guys. He’s back here for a second time and usually they’re back here for a second time because they have some things that we value, not only in terms of talent, but in approach to business that are in line with our mantra.”

Najee Harris

Another player who did not finish the Steelers first game due to injury was running back Najee Harris. Coach Tomlin was asked if Harris aggravated his injury from training camp.

“No, he did not.”

In a follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked if it was the same foot or the other one.

“I really don’t know, to be honest with you. I know that we’re in an encouraging place and he’s going to participate,and his level and quality of participation is going to be our guide. So, there’s probably not much to write about.”

Mitch Trubisky

Earlier in the press conference, Coach Tomlin praised some of the plays made by quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Coach Tomlin was asked how much of his keeping plays alive comes from his veteran experience.

“I think it’s beyond experience. I think his pedigree, he’s an athletic guy. That’s one of the things that was attractive to us in him back in the spring.”

In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked about the fact Trubisky hasn’t turned the ball over in any of his games with the Steelers and if that’s due to experienced decision making or something else.

“It’s probably all the above and then some. Let’s be honest here, I’m getting to know Mitch, so I think anytime he and I step into a stadium, I come out of the stadium with a deeper understanding of what he is and who he is as a man and a player. It’s a process and I don’t resist that process, but I don’t take it for granted at the same time either. We’re learning and growing, and so it’s reasonable to expect him to be better, for me to be better with him, for us to be better with each and every passing day, particularly those days inside stadiums.”

Alex Highsmith

The main player who may have to carry the load in the absence of T.J. Watt is the other starting outside linebacker Alex Highsmith. Coach Tomlin was asked what he was able to see from Highsmith last Sunday to make him so effective.

“I just think it’s a natural maturation process that he’s going through. We drafted him in the third round out of Charlotte, he showed us some things, that he was able to carve out a role for himself in his rookie year and be a third outside linebacker and even playing some packages, we created some packages to be inclusive with him. His second year, he moves into a starting role and does an admirable, varsity job there. So, I just think it’s reasonable to expect that he’s going to continue to improve in the ways that he’s done that since he’s been here. I don’t know that any of us are shocked by the performance. As a matter of fact, I think most of us expect it to continue. You’re not going to get three sacks each and every week, but he’s a good player and he’s a man to be reckoned with for sure.”

In a follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked if he expects Highsmith to get more attention with Watt out of the game.

“I’m not in New England, I’m not formulating New England’s plan, so maybe you guys should ask Bill [Belichick].”

Malik Reed

Another player who will see an increased role due to T.J. Watt’s injury is newly acquired outside linebacker Malik Reed. Coach Tomlin was asked about Reed not being as tall as Watt and if he, much like James Harrison, uses his leverage really well.

“I’m not going to compare him to James Harrison. I’m not going to let you take me down that road.”

In a follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked about a smaller player who plays the position and how they are able to get around.

“Yeah, but I’m not going to compare him to James Harrison. I’m not going to let you take me down that road. Malik is a 700-plus snap defender the last two years. His resume speaks for itself. That’s why we went out and acquired him. He’s a very, very credible NFL player and we expect him to play varsity ball for us.”

Minkah Fitzpatrick

One player who had an exceptional game on defense for the Steelers on Sunday was safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Coach Tomlin was asked if Fitzpatrick was taking a more vocal step on top of his play and if he will speak more as a leader this year.

“That’s always been Minkah, but you can write that story. He’s vocal, he’s intense, he’s a big-time player and he has been since the day we acquired him on a short week going into San Francisco. He was vocal that week.”

In a follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked what kind of leader Fitzpatrick is and if he expects him to step up in Watt’s absence.

“I don’t think we’re devoid of leadership. I’m just going to ask the guys to be themselves and I’ll take an additional play or two. I think that’s going to be needed.”

Jaylen Warren

The quote of the day came when Coach Tomlin was asked about UDFA running back Jaylen Warren. Coach Tomlin was asked what he liked about Warren in his first game action and if he is ready to take on an expanded role if necessary.

“He didn’t urinate down his leg and that’s a great place to begin. That’s capable of happening for a young guy, but I think that’s been indicative of him throughout this process, and that’s why he’s gone from being an undrafted guy to a guy that’s carving a role out for himself. Because at no step in team development did, he show that circumstances were too big for him. He was competitive, and he’s being competitive. He was on Sunday, so good for him and good for us.”

Arthur Maulet

With a lot of snaps being logged by players in the secondary, nickel cornerback Arthur Maulet saw a lot of action. Coach Tomlin was asked what he has seen out of Maulet as he gets more time in the slot role.

“He’s getting more comfortable in his shoes, and I think that’s displayed by the extent in which he communicates. He’s a good tackler, he’s a good blitzer, he does the things that we need that position to do and what’s why we were interested in him. But I think in year two, I just feel more fluid communication from him, and I think that’s helpful to him and I think it’s helpful to those around him. Communication is a big component of interior positions because you’ve got people in front of you, people behind you, so it’s big. He’s linebacker like in his position from a communication perspective.”

In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked about Maulet’s play from Sunday including his splash play in overtime.

“I just thought he was engaged and into it. He always is. I thought a step that he took, if you’re looking for a step, I just thought he was a better, cleaner communicator. But I think that’s a reasonable expectation as he’s in year two within our system of football. He’s just talking more openly and freely and that leads to better understanding and faster, solid collective play when we’re all really sure.”

Devin Bush

One player who faced a lot of criticism leading up to the regular season was inside linebacker Devin Bush. Coach Tomlin was asked if Bush took a big step forward based on his play on Sunday.

“I wouldn’t call it a big step. I imagine you guys would because that was the narrative you guys were singing, but he did what we expected him to do, which is play winning, varsity football.”

For more information on Mike Tomlin’s press conference, check out the podcast below:

If you want to watch Mike Tomlin’s press conference, you can do so below:

LIVE: Coach Tomlin addresses the media ahead of our Week 2 game against the Patriots. @PNCBank

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 13, 2022

Gritty play by the Steelers defense covers for an anemic offense

Wed, 09/14/2022 - 6:00am
Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense spoiled the Bengals’ home opener by leaving everything they had on the gridiron in Cincinnati.

When Chris Boswell nailed a clutch, 53-yard FG, lifting the Steelers to victory as overtime expired at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, his kick preserved the luster on one of the grittiest defensive performances in the annals of Steelers history. From their opening series throughout this slugfest of a game, Pittsburgh’s defense hounded Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ talented offense at every turn while snatching away five turnovers. Making the feat even more impressive, the Black-and-Gold defense short-circuited the Bengals’ normally potent offense despite having several new faces in the lineup.

In a league where nowadays we often see teams appearing unprepared during the early weeks of play, Coach Tomlin and his staff unleashed a hungry, aggressive bunch of defenders on the unsuspecting Bengals in Week 1. As the game wound down, one image in particular epitomized this yeoman’s effort by the Steelers defense. After one especially brutish play, Cam Heyward stayed on his knees and was slowly helped to his feet by the Steelers training staff. As he walked gingerly off of the field, it was obvious from Heyward’s expression that he didn’t want to go out of the game. The defiance written on Cam’s face as he went to the sideline was a dramatic moment which brought to mind the warrior-like mentality of Joe Greene, leader of the vaunted Steel Curtain defense. As Boswell’s winning kick sailed through the uprights, no one could doubt that Heyward, Minkah Fitzpatrick, T.J. Watt and their defensive teammates truly had given this battle everything they had.

But on the other side of the coin, Mitch Trubisky and the revamped Steelers offense largely failed to hold up their end of the bargain throughout the game. In particular, Trubisky was not able to move the offense consistently, nor at key points during the second half when a singular TD might have secured the win. Scoring only six points during the entire second half (including overtime), and forcing the defense to remain on the field far too long, the Steelers offense gave the Bengals repeated opportunities to spoil an inspired, defensive performance.

In view of the injury to Watt, which occurred with only seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, it might be wishful thinking to expect this defense to continue the kind of play we saw in Cincinnati in the weeks ahead. As glaring as the offensive shortcomings were on Opening Day, it’s reasonable to question how long the Steelers defense can hold up physically with so much being asked of them.

The fact that Pittsburgh was able to pull out a win in Week 1 might deflect some criticism of Trubisky and company, but it was obvious to anyone who watched the game that the Steelers need considerably more production from this offense moving forward. So while the last-second win was a thrilling way to kick off the season, it’s hard to point to anything particularly splashy about this Steelers offense. And the longer this trait persists, the higher the chorus will rise for a quarterback change.

As for the Cincinnati Bengals and their fans, the assumption that 2022 would finally be their big year has taken a major hit thanks to a gritty Steelers defense which simply refused to quit.

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Wed, 09/14/2022 - 4:30am

Get the latest BTSC podcast content in the ‘Podcast Roundup’.

Steelers 2022 is ongoing and we here at BTSC, and our podcast platform, are here with you every step of the way. In the past we have given you the podcasts in individual articles on the BTSC website, but we’ve decided to go with a ‘Podcast Roundup’ article which has the latest three podcasts for your enjoyment. The reasoning behind this is to take up less space on the site for the great written content we have at BTSC.

With that being said and typed, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each broadcasted episode.

The Steelers Fix: Unsung Heroes in the Win over the Bengals

There were heroes in the big win in Cincy, but whose positive exploits remain unsung. This week on “The Steelers Fix”, Jeremy Betz and Andrew Wilbar look at certain players that were important to the cause, but not having the men in the hills sing songs about them.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Unsung Heroes
  • and MUCH MORE!
The Mike Tomlin Weekly Press Conference Recap: Week 2 vs. New England

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for Week 2 of regular season football, and on top of that their first home game of the season. This is all surrounding the Week 2 matchup vs. the New England Patriots at Acrisure Stadium this Sunday. Mike Tomlin took to the podium Tuesday, and Dave Schofield, editor of BTSC, gives you all the details on what Coach T had to say leading up to the game in the latest Mike Tomlin Recap podcast.

The Scho Bro Show: Catch your breath Steelers fans, then get ready for the Pats

The Steelers beat Cincinnati Sunday in an exhausting and crazy overtime battle. The black and gold need a quick breather, because a man in a hoodie is bringing his squad to the Steel City for the Steelers home opener. This will be just one of the subjects that will be discussed on the Scho Bro Show. the brotherly love entry of the BTSC family of podcasts.

As always, it sure is a good time to get on the airwaves and discuss the black-and-gold. On this show, Dave and Big Bro Scho break down all things Steelers, still talk stats, and also answer questions from fans!

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Take a breath and get ready for a visit from New England

Dave and Rich walk you through everything you need to know regarding the black-and-gold.

Let’s Ride, Wednesday: Mitch Trubisky can quiet the Kenny Pickett chants on Sunday

The Steelers quarterback situation inched closer to a controversy with a much less than spectacular performance from Mitch Trubisky against Cincinnati on Sunday, The Kenny Pickett chants have started and they could get louder. However, a commanding performance against visiting New England would quell the noise, This is the main topic that will be discussed on the latest episode of the morning flagship show in the BTSC family of podcasts, “Let’s Ride” with BTSC Senior Editor Jeff Hartman. Join Jeff for this and more on the Wednesday episode of “Let’s Ride”.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • A good game from Mitch could calm a lot of nerves
  • The Mail Bag
  • and MUCH MORE!

Be sure to check out this and all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE


Google Play: CLICK HERE

BTSC Survivor Pool Update: Week 1 results

Tue, 09/13/2022 - 3:30pm
Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports

More than half of the contestants were knocked out the first week.

Entry into the Behind The Steel Curtain survivor pool closed at 1 PM on Sunday when the early NFL games kicked off. With four leagues completely filled with 100 entries, the fifth league finished with 35 participants. While technically there are 435 total entries, I have one entry in each league as the commissioner so there were 431 different contestants. Hundreds have entered, but only one can go home with the autographed Cam Heyward Football.

The most common selection for Week 1 was the Baltimore Ravens in New York against the Jets which was the most selected game in four of the five leagues. This game was mildly close in the first half only to get blown wide open in the third quarter. The exactly 100 contestants who chose the Ravens made it easily through to Week 2.

The second most popular pick was the selection of Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos to take down his former team in Seattle. This game came down to a 64-yard field goal attempt rather than a 4th & 5. The kick missing just right sent 75 entries home.

The next most commonly picked game was the Tennessee Titans hosting the New York Giants. Despite getting shut out in the first half, the Giants went to the lead and not the tie on the two-point conversion with just over a minute left to play. Tennessee’s 47-yard field goal attempt as time expired was no good, eliminating 74 contestants.

One other popular game was where 47 contestants picked the Indianapolis Colts to defeat the Houston Texans. With the rules being a team must win, the game ending in a tie eliminated those entries.

One good sign was only three contestants failed to make their pick in time. Hopefully this number will drop to zero over the rest of the contest.

So after one week, only 41.6% of the entries still remain. If you are still alive, make sure you enter your pick early so you don’t get knocked out due to a lack of selection. This is your reminder, so go make your pick now!

Weekly Update: Upcoming Week 2 Games of Note:
  • Most heavily favored: L.A. Rams (-10.5) at home over Atlanta
  • Closest match up (other than the Steelers): Three games at (-2.5)
  • The Steelers match up: Pittsburgh (+1) at home against New England

(all lines are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

So there you have it! Make sure you check back at Behind The Steel Curtain to stay updated on the contest. Even if you did not enter or have already been eliminated, feel free to check in and see how you would have fared each week.

Report: T.J. Watt avoids surgery, expected to miss 6 weeks 

Tue, 09/13/2022 - 2:55pm

While a 6-week diagnosis may seem bad at first, it is much better than the original estimate.

As the speculation of the extent of the injury to the NFL defending Defensive Player of the year T.J. Watt grew more encouraging over the last 48 hours, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the doctors involved with Watt’s additional opinions and checkups on his pectoral muscle believe surgery is not required.

Doctors determined this afternoon that Steelers’ LB T.J. Watt does not surgery on his torn pectoral and he now is expected to miss about six weeks, per source.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 13, 2022

In his normal Tuesday Press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin seemed encouraged about the prognosis when it came to T.J. Watt’s injury.

In his first game of the 2022 season, T.J. Watt was part of the Steelers dynamic defense which led to a Steelers victory. Watt had six tackles on the day along with one sack. Watt also had three tackles for loss, two passes defensed, and one of the four interceptions of Bengal’s quarterback Joe Burrow on the day.

Although the timeline for Watt’s return could vary based on his rehabilitation, the fact he may return for the second half of the season is encouraging. The Steelers have seven more games in the month of September and October before their bye the first week of November. Whether or not Watt returns before the Steelers’ week off, or if he lands on the Reserve/Injured List in order to gain a roster spot, remains to be seen. If Watt is placed on the list this week, the earliest he could return would be Week 6 when the Steelers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Steelers are considering placing T.J Watt on IR, not ending his season but allowing him to return after 4 weeks, per source.
Pittsburgh has until this Saturday before 4pm to decide

— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) September 13, 2022

Even though surgery appears to not be on the horizon at this time, there is always the possibility the rehabilitation process could make a turn in the wrong direction. But for now, even though he is scheduled to miss multiple games, having T.J. Watt for a portion of the 2022 NFL season is much more encouraging than originally believed.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for continued coverage as the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare to take on the New England Patriots in their home opener of the 2022 season at Acrisure Stadium this Sunday at 1 PM.

Steelers swap a pair of players on their practice squad prior to Week 2

Tue, 09/13/2022 - 2:09pm
Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have made some adjustments to their 16-man practice squad.

Throughout the course of an 18-game regular season, adjustments are necessary at every level. This includes with the 53-man roster, as well as the 16-man practice squad. Throughout the year players will come and go on both lists to accommodate injury and adjustments to be made.

Tuesday the Steelers made some of those adjustments as they signed two players to their practice squad, and released two to make room.

Players added: LB Ryan Anderson and TE Rodney Williams

Players released: TE Justin Rigg and WR Jaquarii Roberson

This from the Steelers verified Twitter page:

We have signed two players to the practice squad. @BordasLaw

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 13, 2022

The news of Anderson’s workout was made public earlier in the day, but the complete 4 players transaction now becomes official.

For more about the latest additions, this from

Anderson was originally drafted by the Washington Commanders in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He appeared in 52 games, starting four, while recording 78 tackles, including seven for a loss, five forced fumbles, six sacks, two fumble recoveries and one pass defensed.

He signed with the New York Giants in 2021 but was only with the team for the offseason.

Anderson played at the University of Alabama where he was a first team All-SEC selection and a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker.

Williams was signed by the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent following the 2022 NFL Draft but released during the preseason.

Williams played college ball at Tennessee-Martin, where he played in 53 games, starting 26. He finished with 99 receptions for 1,217 yards and seven touchdowns, finishing his career ranked ninth in school history in receptions.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they prepare for their Week 2 matchup with the New England Patriots at Acrisure Stadium.

Power Rankings: Steelers ranking all over the map after Week 1

Tue, 09/13/2022 - 2:00pm
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Time to check the weekly NFL Power Rankings to see where the Steelers fall this week.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were victorious in Week 1 of the 2022 regular season, but the win was far from perfect. In fact, it was the kind of win which made it extremely difficult to gauge where they rank among their NFL peers.

Was the 23-20 overtime win to have them considered a Top 10 team? Based on this week’s NFL Power Rankings, that’s not the case. Was the defensive performance enough to keep the team out of the bottom third of the league? These rankings suggest they did just that.

All in all, the Steelers’ rankings this week were all over the map. Yes, one site has them as a Top 10 team. On the other hand, a couple websites have them in the bottom half of the league.

The truth might be somewhere in the middle, but it’s that time of the week where we take a look at other outlets’ rankings after Week 1 of regular season action.

Let’s get to the rankings...


1. Buffalo Bills
2. Kansas City Chiefs
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4. Los Angeles Chargers
5. Los Angeles Rams
6. Baltimore Ravens
7. Cincinnati Bengals
8. Green Bay Packers
9. Philadelphia Eagles
10. Minnesota Vikings
14. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)

Preseason ranking: 22

Rookie who stood out: RB Jaylen Warren

Even though the Steelers have rookies on the roster who figure to be major players this season, there weren’t many opportunities for the young guys to flash on Sunday. Warren, an undrafted rookie, ended up with the most playing time among the rookies (23 offensive snaps). He stepped into a big role when Najee Harris went down at the end of regulation, and though he had only three carries for 7 yards, he figures to have an even bigger role against the Patriots if Harris misses time. Honorable mention standout rookie: third-round pick defensive end DeMarvin Leal, who played 17 snaps.

1. Buffalo Bills
2. Kansas City Chiefs
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4. Los Angeles Rams
5. Los Angeles Chargers
6. Baltimore Ravens
7. Minnesota Vikings
8. Green Bay Packers
9. Cincinnati Bengals
10. Philadelphia Eagles
19. Pittsburgh Steelers

Previous rank: No. 21

Let’s start with the positives: The Steelers forced Joe Burrow into five turnovers, the front seven piled up six sacks and Chris Boswell’s long field goal secured an overtime win over the defending AFC champion Bengals in one of the craziest season openers in recent history. The negatives are ominous, however: The offense was largely stagnant under Mitch Trubisky, Najee Harris exited the game with a foot injury and reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt appears likely to miss at least several weeks after suffering a pectoral injury in the final seconds of regulation. Sometimes even the most dramatic of wins can feel like a loss.


1. Buffalo Bills
2. Kansas City Chiefs
3. Minnesota Vikings
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. Los Angeles Chargers
7. Pittsburgh Steelers

“The Steelers allowed the Bengals to force overtime, but Chris Boswell was eventually able to come through for the win. T.J. Watt was injured in the win, as was Najee Harris. Mitchell Trubisky was 21-for-38 with 194 yards and a touchdown.”

8. Philadelphia Eagles
9. New Orleans Saints
10. Washington Commanders

Sporting News

1. Buffalo Bills
2. Kansas City Chiefs
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4. Los Angeles Chargers
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. Philadelphia Eagles
7. Minnesota Vikings
8. Los Angeles Rams
9. San Francisco 49ers
10. Green Bay Packers
11. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers didn’t look great offensively with Mitchell Trubisky, but they did just enough the passing game to steal the Bengals game to reward the takeaway-amassing defense. The overtime win had to feel good, but it may have come with the devastating injury losses of T.J. Watt and Najee Harris.

Pro Football Network

1. Buffalo Bills
2. Kansas City Chiefs
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4. Los Angeles Chargers
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. Minnesota Vikings
7. Cincinnati Bengals
8. Green Bay Packers
9. Los Angeles Rams
10. Philadelphia Eagles
17. Pittsburgh Steelers

It was finally going to be the first time the Pittsburgh Steelers stumbled to a losing record in Mike Tomlin’s illustrious 16-year head coaching career. But Pittsburgh went out and turned over Joe Burrow more times than some people can count on one hand.

And all that happened before the game got really weird. The NFL is better when the games are chaotic, like college football. And the end of this game felt like a wacky college game.

The offensive line struggled, and Mitchell Trubisky was as underwhelming as expected. Yet, the defense caused problems for Cincinnati all game long, which will keep Pittsburgh in games this season if they can continue on that trajectory. Unfortunately, they may have lost T.J. Watt for an extended period with a potentially serious pec injury.

What do you think of these rankings? Be sure to let us know in the comment section below and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they prepare for the New England Patriots in Week 2.

Steelers offensive PFF grades show disparity in pass and run blocking

Tue, 09/13/2022 - 12:40pm
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In the grades provided by PFF, the Steelers offense has plenty of room for growth.

The Pittsburgh Steelers kicked off their 2022 NFL season a big road divisional win in Cincinnati. Although the Steelers came away with a victory, there were other losses in terms of injuries that could loom large over the season. While it was encouraging to see the defense get five takeaways, it was also discouraging for it to take overtime to still pull off the victory.

But how did the individual players grade out?

For this exercise, we will be looking at the player grades from Pro Football Focus (PFF) for the Steelers Week 1 performance. Remember, these are just the grades for the Steelers for this past game and not combined with their previous performances for the preseason. Before going any further, I must give the typical disclaimer that PFF grades are subjective. While some people rely on them heavily, others are quite skeptical of the process in which they are determined. It is completely up to each person as to how much stock they put into PFF’s grades. For me, I often look at the grades to see if my own “eye test” lines up with what others viewed as how a player performed. If nothing more, the grades create a discussion about how accurate, or inaccurate, they are each week.

Instead of looking at the entire team at once, we break up the scores into offense and defense. Next up this week is the offense. Included will be all the players who played at least one snap and the total snap counts for each player will be included. For reference sake, the Steelers played 63 snaps on offense in Sunday’s game.


Top 5 (regardless of position)

WR Miles Boykin: 76.7 (8 snaps)
TE Pat Freiermuth: 74.2 (56 snaps)
OT Chuks Okorafor: 70.1 (63 snaps)
WR Diontae Johnson: 69.2 (51 snaps)
OT Dan Moore Jr.: 68.7 (63 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of position)

G Kevin Dotson: 56.4 (63 snaps)
C Mason Cole : 54.9 (59 snaps)
WR Gunner Olszewski: 51.6 (9 snaps)
WR George Pickens: 50.1 (45 snaps)
RB Jaylen Warren: 48.9 (23 snaps)


QB Mitch Trubisky: 62.0 (63 snaps)

It’s not a score in the 70s like he received in each of the preseason games, but Mitch Trubisky’s 62.0 is indicative of a player who didn’t turn the ball over but only led the offense on one touchdown drive. As is the case with the entire offense, there’s going to take some time for continuity to occur. Both Trubisky‘s PFF score and performance from Sunday could probably fit in the “he didn’t kill us” category MIke Tomlin established in 2019.

Running Backs

FB Derek Watt: 59.6 (6 snaps)
RB Najee Harris: 56.5 (37 snaps)
RB Jaylen Warren: 48.9 (23 snaps)

Sorry, but the rant is coming here shortly. First, it’s never a good sign when a player who was only on the field six snaps and didn’t do much to move the arrow up or down with their score is the top player in the position group. My big problem comes with the score of Jaylen Warren, particularly his 22.9 pass blocking score which brought him down. PFF has him with six snaps where he was in pass protection and had him with such a poor score. But, as shown here in a breakdown by Brian Baldinger in two of the first three plays shown, Warren should have at least been commended for some of his blitz pick ups in pass protection:

.@Steelers @Nunless2 when he HITS people he MOVES people. The ROOK has POP! We you Jaylen @CowboyFB #BaldysBreakdowns

— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 12, 2022

As for Najee Harris, I agree with what many others have been saying in that he didn’t quite seen himself since dealing with injury during training camp.


WR Miles Boykin: 76.7 (8 snaps)
TE Pat Freiermuth: 74.2 (56 snaps)
WR Diontae Johnson: 69.2 (51 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 65.3 (19 snaps)
WR Chase Claypool: 61.4 (58 snaps)
TE Connor Heyward: 60.0 (1 snap)
WR Gunner Olszewski: 51.6 (9 snaps)
WR George Pickens: 50.1 (45 snaps)

Several things stand out here. First, Miles Boykin ended up with the top score on the offense on only eight snaps because six of those plays he received a 92.8 run blocking score. Pat Freiermuth continues to show his value, as well as Diontae Johnson coming through despite battling a recent shoulder injury. Tight end Zach Gentry finished just out of the top five with a very unbalanced score. Gentry had the highest score when it came to passing/receiving where he had an 86.4 on five snaps but scored a 0.0 and his two snaps in pass blocking.

A big plus to start 2022 is that PFF had no drops on any passes by the Steelers in Week 1.

Another score I wanted to point out is where George Pickens landed at the bottom of the position group and next to last on the Steelers offense. I heard from a number of Steelers fans claiming Pickens was running wide-open all day and just simply wasn’t given the ball. While I cannot confirm or deny the statements, it appears PFF did not agree with them at all. As a reminder, everyone should feel free to form their own conclusion when it comes to Pickens’ first game.

Offensive Line

OT Chuks Okorafor: 70.1 (63 snaps)
OT Dan Moore Jr.: 68.7 (63 snaps)
G James Daniels: 64.8 (63 snaps)
OT Trent Scott: 60.3 (2 snaps)
C J.C. Hassenauer: 60.0 (4 snaps)
G Kevin Dotson: 56.4 (63 snaps)
C Mason Cole : 54.9 (59 snaps)

A huge concern coming into the matchup, it was nice to see the Steelers starting tackles in the top five for the team. In what many would expect, the Steelers offensive line scores were quite solid when it came to pass blocking with James Daniels leading the way with a 79.3 score. Even though Kevin Dotson and Mason Cole were at the bottom in pass blocking, both of them had a pass blocking score over 65 on the game. But when it came to run blocking, the only offensive linemen above the 60.0 standard was Chuks Okorafor with a 68.7 run blocking score. The rest of the offensive line finished in the 40s or 50s. While it was a step in the right direction, the scores also show areas for growth.

So, what do you think of the above grades? Do they pass the eye test? Let us know your thoughts on the Steelers’ defensive grades in the comments below.

Mike Tomlin updates T.J. Watt’s status, as well as other injuries, heading into Week 2

Tue, 09/13/2022 - 11:20am

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a list of injuries, but Mike Tomlin had some good news surrounding those injuries Tuesday.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a wild and crazy 23-20 overtime win vs. the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1, but the victory hasn’t been the main talking point among the fan base since Chris Boswell nailed the 53-yard game-winning kick.

The talking point has been surrounding the team’s sudden rash of injury to big-name players, mainly Najee Harris (foot) and T.J. Watt (pectoral).

Tuesday Mike Tomlin met with media and addressed these injuries, among other players who were banged up in the AFC North grudge match at Paycor Stadium last Sunday.

As you can imagine, Tomlin spoke first about his All-Pro linebacker, T.J. Watt (pec). He said they feel the team, in regards to Watt’s injury, are in “a lot better place than right after the game”. He continued by staying Watt is out this week, but won’t make commitments beyond that for the rest of the season. Tomlin said he is encouraged, but reminded those listening the organization will do what’s appropriate with the injury.

Tomlin next spoke about center Mason Cole (ankle). Cole was injured in the second half vs. the Bengals last Sunday, but only missed a handful of games before he was able to return. Tomlin said the injured ankle might change the process for Cole this week, but he is expected to be available vs. New England this Sunday.

Najee Harris with his foot/ankle injury was the next player brought up during the press conference, and Tomlin spoke about how Harris is really optimistic. He continued to say it “is good to be young” when talking about Harris’ feelings about playing this week. Tomlin continued how Harris will be in position, but he’ll have to practice and prove his readiness. Tomlin continued by saying Harris is talented, but young, and the injury should be considered day-to-day.

Earlier on Tuesday, Harris went on Adam Schein’s Schein on Sports show on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio and spoke about how he is feeling, and if he is going to play this week.

“The plan is I should be ready to play. I should be back practicing.” Harris said. “Today’s our off day, so it’s good that we got today off just to let it heal for another day and just be ready to go this weekend.

“I’ll be back at practice this week. And then I will be playing this weekend.”

All other injuries which took place during the game in Cincinnati Sunday were labeled as bumps and bruises associated with the game. This would include the injuries to players like Levi Wallace (ankle) and Robert Spillane (eye) who both left the game in Week 1 and were unable to return to action.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the New England Patriots to invade Acrisure Stadium this Sunday for a 1pm ET kickoff.

Stock Report: Whose stock is rising after the win over the Bengals

Tue, 09/13/2022 - 10:04am
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Let's see whose stock is trending up or down after the Steelers overtime road victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

“Deserve has nothing to do with it!”

That's one of my favorite lines from the Clint Eastwood movie classic Unforgiven, in response to a whining antagonist claiming that he didn't deserve to die. That's when Clint Eastwood uttered the unforgettable reply.

The Pittsburgh Steelers deserved to win that game Sunday afternoon in Paycor Stadium. The Cincinnati Bengals did not. I wholeheartedly believe that statement, but as I mentioned earlier, deserve has nothing to do with it.

The Steelers defense turned in one of their best, and most complete, efforts in years. They dominated the high powered Bengals offense, limiting them at every turn. The Steelers sacked Joe Burrow seven times that counted, intercepted him four times, forced a couple of fumbles, and knocked down several of his passes. Joe Cool looked anything but on multiple occasions, often left shaking his head in disbelief.

Many of the Bengals most successful offensive plays were perpetrated by the men wearing vertical white and black stripes, armed with tiny yellow flags, especially in the Bengals fourth quarter rally. Five times Bengals offensive drives were extended as first downs were obtained via penalty.

The Bengals remained in the contest because the Steelers defense created a substantial lead, and the Steelers offense seemingly reverted to a protect the ball, and lead, mentality.

Teams that lose the turnover margin five to zero shouldn't even be in the game, much less win it, but the Bengals almost did. It's back to the drawing board for the Steelers offense.

Let's take a look at whose stock is trending in the right, or wrong, direction.

Stock Up: Minkah Fitzpatrick

Talk about setting the tone for the game, and hopefully a trend for the season. Fitzpatrick's pick-six on the Bengals first possession was definitely a tone setter for the Steelers defense on the day. Fitzpatrick was flying around the field like a man possessed, playing like a man that despised the opponent, like he confessed earlier in the week. It was the most physical performance of his career, as he repeatedly delivered crushing blows, often separating man from football. His extra point block saved the game for the Steelers.

Stock Up: Alex Highsmith

Now that's what we have all been waiting to see. All of Steelers Nation witnessed the breakout performance of young Alex Highsmith's career. He was the definition of controlled chaos throughout the afternoon. He repeatedly set a dominant edge against the running game, overpowering tackles and tight ends alike. Highsmith looked explosive in his pass rush repertoire, but maintained the integrity of his rush lanes, allowing him to repeatedly stop Burrow from scrambling for first downs. He tallied three sacks and a forced fumble for his efforts. The importance of Highsmith's breakout is imperative, in light of T.J. Watt's injury.

Stock Down: T.J. Watt's availability

The defending NFL Defensive Player of the Year opened the 2022 season determined to produce a repeat performance, almost predestined to add a second DPOY Award to his trophy case. Watt somehow appeared even more dominant than last season: stronger, faster, even more mentally focused. His interception displayed his elite level athleticism and hand-eye coordination. He almost decapitated Joe Mixon when he instantly exploded into the backfield after the Bengals inexplicably left him unblocked on a running play. Sadly, Watt's season of dominance may have already ended just as it was getting started. Watt suffered an apparent pec injury in the final seconds of regulation, after tossing a Bengals offensive tackle aside like a rag doll, prior to accumulating his second sack of Burrow, only to see it wiped out by a questionable penalty. Talk about adding insult to injury. All Steelers fans should be praying that the injury isn't of the season-ending variety.

Stock Up: Chase Claypool

Claypool saw his future in Sunday's game, and the future is now. Once reports started leaking out of training camp about Claypool taking the majority of snaps out of the slot, I was intrigued. The perfect marriage between skill set and responsibilities. Talk about instant mismatch. Claypool is big, fast, and strong; but he struggles to gain separation on his routes. He prefers to try and gain positioning, then shield the defender with his large frame, like a rebounder in basketball. This style, coupled with his size, plays ideally in the slot. It also allows him to easily go in motion, making him a constant threat for an end-around or jet sweep, where his running ability shines through. Corner fade routes are on the way.

Stock Up: Pat Freiermuth

The sky is the limit for Freiermuth, but he will need improved quarterback play and play calling to reach his full potential. Freiermuth came open on multiple occasions, but Mitch Trubisky struggled with anticipating open throwing lanes as they develop. He caught everything within the realm of possibility, including his huge catch and run in overtime on the game-winning drive. That was the Steelers’ best offensive play of the day, and it was an off schedule pitch and catch between Trubisky and Freiermuth. Hopefully that signals a growing connection between the two, and is a positive sign of things to come.

Stock Down: Play calling

I am not yet ready to panic, even if a lot of last year's issues have apparently carried over into this season. No running lanes, passes short of the sticks, and more of the unsuccessful heave and a prayer deep passing attack. The Steelers started the game with some creative, albeit conservative, play calls. Canada appeared determined to ease his inexperienced troops into the fray. Suddenly the Steelers grabbed the early lead, thanks to a defensive score and multiple takeaways. Then the Steelers appeared to go completely conservative, trying to protect the lead, and the football. The offense was never able to find their rhythm.

Stock Up: Newcomers and other pleasant surprises

Jaylen Warren blocks exactly like he runs the football, powerfully and passionately.

Although there is still plenty of work left to do, the Steelers offensive line continued to show baby steps of improvement from their preseason performances. Mason Cole and James Daniels are definitely improvements over last season's versions at their positions.

Jamir Jones appeared comfortable and confident in his return. Still sets a mean edge against the run, and looks like a competent rotational piece, potentially more.

Kudos to Zach Gentry for his continued impressive growth at the tight end position.

Steelers working out former Commanders pass rusher

Tue, 09/13/2022 - 10:03am
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

With T.J. Watt likely to head to Injured Reserve, the Steelers have started the process of working out potential replacements.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a tough spot after their Week 1 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. What is difficult about a 1-0 start? How about the potential loss of the reigning 2021 Defensive Player of the Year, T.J. Watt?

Whether Watt is lost for the season, or just a part of the 2022 campaign, it seems highly likely the Steelers will be placing Watt on Injured Reserve (IR) in the coming days. With Watt likely to head to IR, it would free up a roster spot. A roster spot which would almost assuredly be filled by another pass rusher.

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Steelers hosted former Washington Commanders pass rusher Ryan Anderson for a workout Tuesday.

With T.J. Watt likely headed to injured reserve, the #Steelers are working out former #Commanders OLB Ryan Anderson today, per source.

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 13, 2022

A second-round pick by Washington in 2017 out of Alabama, Ryan Andersen spent four years in Washington where he appeared in 52 games with only four starts. Anderson had 86 tackles and 6.0 sacks along with 15 quarterback hits, one pass defensed, five forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries through the 2020 NFL season. In 2021, Anderson signed a one-year contract with the New York Giants. At the very end of the preseason, Anderson was suspended for the first six games of 2021 for violating the NFL‘s policy on performance enhancing substances. Anderson was released several days later when the Giants cut their roster down to 53 players and did not play in the NFL last season.

With Watt off the depth chart, the team’s trio of pass rushers would be as follows:

  • Alex Highsmith
  • Malik Reed
  • Jamir Jones

The addition of a player like Anderson would certainly soften the blow of the loss of Watt, but there is no one currently available on the open market who can provide even half of the production Watt does on a week-in and week-out basis.

Mike Tomlin will address the media Tuesday for his weekly press conference, and will certainly have more to say surrounding Watt’s status and the team’s plans moving forward. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they prepare for the New England Patriots in Week 2 of the regular season.


It is now being reported the Steelers are expected to sign Anderson to their practice squad. This could mean the team will be promoting someone to fill Watt’s spot on the active roster once he is placed on IR.

The #Steelers are signing former #Commanders OLB Ryan Anderson to the practice squad, per source.

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 13, 2022