You are here

Links

3 games to watch in Week 3 which give perspective on the Steelers future opponents

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/24/2022 - 2:00pm
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

There are several NFL games this week which will help get a better understanding of teams the Steelers face later in 2022

With the Pittsburgh Steelers already playing their game for Week 3, this Sunday offers a number of games which fans could take in. When Steelers Nation looks to see what else has gone on around the NFL, there are a few matchups between two teams on the Steelers schedule, either past or future, which could give some insight into things to come.

First off, lets check out how the three games from last week ended up. Two of the games involved big comebacks to win it while the other seemed fairly uneventful. When it comes to the betting lines for the game, the following information is the current consensus spread this week as reported by DraftKings Sportsbook.

New York Jets (31) at Cleveland Browns (30)

I thought this game was over. As I was driving home after the Steelers game to do the Post Game Show, I didn’t even pay attention to the score and only found out later that the Jets came back to win it. Scoring 14 points in just over the last minute and a half was not something I expected. Unfortunately, there was not a hangover from this loss for the Browns on Thursday night.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (20) at New Orleans Saints (10)

This game was 3–3 until almost halfway through the fourth quarter. Tampa Bay finally got on the scoreboard with a touchdown and added another one on defense before the Saints scored late. I don’t know if there’s much to be taken from how this game ultimately played out.

Miami Dolphins (42) at Baltimore Ravens (38)

The reason I missed the end of the Browns game is because I was following the end of the Dolphins and Ravens game. It was another epic collapse by a team to give up a huge lead at the end of the game. With Miami now 2–0 with one of their wins over the Patriots who took down the Steelers, this game is showing more about the Steelers quality of opponents than anything else.

For Week 3, here are the three games which could give the most perspective on what the Steelers can expect with some of their future opponents:

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins Sunday at 1:00 PM on CBS
Spread: BUF (-5)

This is a big game in the AFC East with two undefeated teams. Additionally, the Steelers travel to both of these teams to face off prior to their bye week. So far both teams seem strong, but Sunday might show which team is stronger.

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots Sunday 1:00 PM on FOX
Spread: BAL (-3)

The Steelers have already faced the New England Patriots in 2022, and they do not face the Ravens until December. Still, this matchup is intriguing just to see how a team that the Steelers could not finish off fairs against someone they still have to play twice.

Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets Sunday at 1:00 PM on CBS
Spread: CIN (-6)

Once again this game features a team Steelers have already played, but the Steelers will face the Bengals again in 2022. More importantly, the Steelers next matchup is against the New York Jets which will either bring the Steelers back to .500 or put them in a huge hole moving forward. Let’s see how these teams matchup against each other.

So there are the three main matchups which can give Steelers fans an indication as to the quality of upcoming opponents in 2022. With each passing week, a little bit more understanding about each team is able to be determined.

Which of these other games will be the most telling as it pertains to the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers? Make sure you vote in the poll and give your thoughts in the comments below.

The Steelers see a drop in Week 3 defensive PFF grades

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/24/2022 - 12:00pm
David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

In the grades provided by PFF from Week 2, a number of players with strong performances last week fell off four days later.

The Pittsburgh Steelers dropped their second-straight game as they traveled to Cleveland on a short week. The offense showed some life in the first half, but the ability to get key first downs cost them down the stretch. As for the defense, the sheer volume of rushing attempts they faced shot up the yardage despite the Steelers being the more efficient team on the ground.

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 3 performance. Remember, these are just the grades for the Steelers for this past game and not combined with their previous performances. 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 is the defense. Included will be all the players who played at least one defensive snap and the total snap counts for each player will be included. For reference sake, the Steelers played 72 snaps on defense in Thursday’s game.

Overall

Top 5 (regardless of position)

S Miles Killebrew: 73.4 (5 snaps)
OLB Alex Highsmith: 73.0 (68 snaps)
CB Cam Sutton: 72.3 (69 snaps)
DT Cam Heyward: 69.9 (56 snaps)
CB Levi Wallace: 68.6 (26 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of position)

S Minkah Fitzpatrick: 47.1 (72 snaps)
OLB Delontae Scott: 45.9 (9 snaps)
ILB Myles Jack: 42.2 (66 snaps)
OLB Jamir Jones: 39.0 (5 snaps)
DT Tyson Alualu: 30.3 (39 snaps)

Defensive Front Five

OLB Alex Highsmith: 73.0 (68 snaps)
DT Cam Heyward: 69.9 (56 snaps)
DT DeMarvin Leal: 65.1 (13 snaps)
DT Montravius Adams: 55.9 (15 snaps)
OLB Malik Reed: 54.1 (57 snaps)
DT Larry Ogunjobi: 53.9 (48 snaps)
DT Chris Wormley: 51.4 (23 snaps)
OLB Delontae Scott: 45.9 (9 snaps)
OLB Jamir Jones: 39.0 (5 snaps)
DT Tyson Alualu: 30.3 (39 snaps)

Last week Alex Highsmith was second in this position group and fourthoverall. This week, despite being top of the position group and the highest grade of anyone playing more than five snaps, his grade actually dipped slightly from a 73.8 to a 73.0. As you will see as we go on through the scores, it’s a common theme that the defensive scores were down overall compared to the previous week. Actually, the only improvements for this week along the front five came from Cam Heyward (64.8 to 69.9) and Larry Ogunjobi (51.7 to 53.9). As I’ve said before, PFF shows no love to Ogunjobi as he and Highsmith were the only two players to even get a quarterback hit (as they each had two) but yet he still scores in the 50s.

I will admit I’m starting to get a little concerned about the continued drop in scores of 35-year-old Tyson Alualu (64.8 to 48.2 to 30.3). I’m not saying the scores are even something I agree with, but when a player of that age has others scoring him in this manner, it is something of which to take note. Perhaps 10 days off until the next game will prove beneficial.

Inside Linebackers

ILB Robert Spillane: 63.6 (30 snaps)
ILB Devin Bush: 47.9 (55 snaps)
ILB Myles Jack: 42.2 (66 snaps)

Only four days later and playing another game saw the order of these scores flip. Additionally, both players who scored in the 60s last week scored in the 40s this week with Spillane scoring in the 40s last week and moving into the 60s this week. I’m not sure any of these scores really pass my eye test, but I admit I wasn’t focused as much on the inside linebackers. It was Spillane‘s coverage score of 78.3 which brought him up, and it was the highest coverage score on the Steelers defense this week.

Defensive Backs

S Miles Killebrew: 73.4 (5 snaps)
CB Cam Sutton: 72.3 (69 snaps)
CB Levi Wallace: 68.6 (26 snaps)
S Tre Norwood: 64.2 (2 snaps)
CB Arthur Maulet: 49.0(16 snaps)
S Terrell Edmunds: 48.5 (68 snaps)
CB Ahkello Witherspoon: 47.3 (50 snaps)
S Minkah Fitzpatrick: 47.1 (72 snaps)

And without a huge splash play, Minkah Fitzpatrick goes back to receiving no love from PFF. Given only a 46.1 coverage score, I find it quite interesting as PFF did not have him even targeted in the game. I guess when a team employs an “avoid at all cost” approach to a player, it causes their scores to be cut in half.

As for the rest of the secondary, I don’t even remember seeing Miles Killebrew on the field on defense but apparently when he was he was doing a nice job. It should also be noted that his blocked punt does not come into play here at all as instead it is what led him to have an 82.7 special teams score.

While the safeties topped the overall scores last week, they fell into the bottom of the position group along with starting cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon who left the game due to injury. In all, the defense, and by extension the secondary, gave up at 92.5 score to quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

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.

Steelers Draft Preview: Conference rivalries highlight Week 4

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/24/2022 - 10:30am
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

These potential NFL Draft gems in action this weekend could make sense for the Steelers.

The 2023 NFL Draft is still months in the distance, but with college football having arrived, the beginning stages of the 2023 draft process has begun. With that in mind, it is time to dive into this week’s biggest games in the college football world, taking a look at potential Steelers draft targets to pay attention to during their respective games.

Offensive line is definitely an area the Steelers need to address, and the most likely resource for the solution is indeed the draft. Concerns at cornerback and linebacker also loom large over the Pittsburgh’s head. Although we will certainly break down prospects at other positions this season as well, these will be the primary positions of emphasis, especially early in the season.

Nearly every week during the season, there are several highlight games that steal the headlines, but even when these games overshadow the rest of the college football landscape, we will not be negligent of the other games and prospects in action. Every week during the season, we will recap the previous week’s action and determine whose stock rose the most as it pertains to the NFL Draft.

As always, be sure to share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section below, but without further adieu, here are the top prospects and games to keep an eye on this Saturday.

#5 Clemson vs. #21 Wake Forest — Noon ET on ABC

Clemson Spotlight: Jordan McFadden — OT (6’2”, 310 lbs); Sheridan Jones — CB (6’0”, 190 lbs)
Wake Forest Spotlight: Ryan Smenda, Jr. — LB (6’1”, 235 lbs); Christian Turner — RB (5’11”, 200 lbs)

Jordan McFadden had an opportunity to leave for the NFL in 2022, but he smartly chose to return for one more season. While he may lack the ideal length for the position, he is technically sound and rarely makes a big mistake. He has sufficient athleticism, and he has proven to be a difference-maker in the run game.

For Wake Forest, keep your eye on Ryan Smenda, Jr. I am not sure how well he will test athletically, but he is a well-rounded linebacker who has three-down ability. Not only does he move fluidly in coverage, but he also displays great awareness as a run defender, shooting gaps with excellent quickness. Running back Christian Turner, a Michigan transfer, is another guy to watch. He may not be the biggest back in the world, but he has good vision and hits the hole with pop.

#20 Florida vs. #11 Tennessee — 3:30 ET on CBS

Florida Spotlight: O’Cyrus Torrence — G (6’5”, 335 lbs); Brenton Cox, Jr. — EDGE (6’3”, 252 lbs)
Tennessee Spotlight: Omari Thomas — DT (6’4”, 320 lbs); Jeremy Banks — LB (6’1”, 224 lbs)

Torrence is a Louisiana transfer who could very well become the first interior lineman off the board. Tennessee has several talented pieces along the defensive line, but none are a challenge Torrence cannot handle single-handedly. Torrence looks the part of an NFL guard. He is big, athletic, and physical. He simply has not garnered the attention he deserves, as all eyes have been on quarterback Anthony Richardson.

For the Volunteers, give me the big Omari Thomas. For a massive guy on the defensive line, Thomas is fairly nimble and displays good overall awareness. Still, I would like to see him become a finisher rather than just a disrupter. Another guy to watch is Jeremy Banks, and if you are looking for a good NFL comparison, look no further than the Steelers’ own Mark Robinson. Banks is a former running back who displays top-notch instincts against the run and runs around like a missile on the field. Adding more weight to his frame will allow him to finish on more plays.

Wisconsin vs. #3 Ohio State — 7:30 ET on ABC

Wisconsin Spotlight: Joe Tippman — C (6’6”, 317 lbs), Jay Shaw — CB (5’11”, 190 lbs)
Ohio State Spotlight: Julian Fleming — WR (6’2”, 207 lbs), Taron Vincent (6’2”, 305 lbs)

Tippman has to be the perfect name for an offensive lineman. Regardless of name, Joe is a pretty good football player. While some interior lineman use their length as a crutch, Tippman does a nice job using it as a way to create leverage in the run game. If the Mason Cole experiment fails to work out, Tippman could be on the short list of prospects the Steelers target in the early rounds.

All eyes were expected to be on Jaxson Smith-Njigba in the Ohio State receiver room, but due to injury, he has yet to make a meaningful difference on offense. Fleming is still recovering from an injury of his own, but after catching two touchdown passes last week against Toledo, he is trending in the right direction. Fleming seems to be the healthier of the two hampered receivers, so expect Stroud to look his way often as the Buckeyes ease Smith-Njigba back into the fold.

Which NFL Draft prospects do you have your eye on this weekend? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stick around throughout the day in the comment section, discussing college football action as it occurs before our eyes all afternoon and evening!

Mitch Trubisky tops the Steelers offensive PFF grades in Week 3

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/24/2022 - 9:00am
Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

In the grades provided by PFF, the Steelers quarterback was at the top of the list in Week 3.

The Pittsburgh Steelers dropped their second-straight game as they traveled to Cleveland on a short week. The offense showed some life in the first half, but the ability to get key first downs cost them down the stretch. As for the defense, the sheer volume of rushing attempts they faced shot up the yardage despite the Steelers being the more efficient team on the ground.

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 3 performance. Remember, these are just the grades for the Steelers for this past game and not combined with their previous performances. 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. First 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 once again played 59 snaps on offense in Thursday’s game.

Overall

Top 5 (regardless of position)

QB Mitch Trubisky: 80.3 (59 snaps)
C Mason Cole : 79.3 (59 snaps)
RB Jaylen Warren: 79.0 (12 snaps)
TE Pat Freiermuth: 78.4 (45 snaps)
G James Daniels: 70.5 (59 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of position)

WR Gunner Olszewski: 57.9 (3 snaps)
WR George Pickens: 56.8 (45 snaps)
WR Chase Claypool: 56.0 (55 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 55.3 (23 snaps)
TE Connor Heyward: 34.3 (6 snaps)

Quarterback

QB Mitch Trubisky: 80.3 (59 snaps)

I don’t know how well this is going to go over with Steelers’ fans. Those who don’t put much stock in PFF will definitely pull that card. But perhaps fans might want to look inside themselves and ask if they are just so anxious to see Kenny Pickett if they are not giving an accurate assessment of Trubisky. But it should be noted this is the highest PFF grade given to a Steelers quarterback during the regular or postseason since Ben Roethlisberger had an 83.1 in Week 1 of 2020 against the New York Giants.

Running Backs

RB Jaylen Warren: 79.0 (12 snaps)
RB Najee Harris: 66.1(47 snaps)
FB Derek Watt: 60.0 (1 snap)

Finally PFF gave Jaylen Warren an adequate pass blocking score of 76.3. While that was a vast improvement and more in line with how he’s actually been blocking, it was his 94.2 grade in the passing game which put him in the top five for the Steelers. Najee Harris had his grade docked because of his pass blocking score of 47.2 as he was the player credited with giving up the sack during the game.

Receivers

TE Pat Freiermuth: 78.4 (45 snaps)
WR Diontae Johnson: 70.1 (58 snaps)
WR Gunner Olszewski: 57.9 (3 snaps)
WR George Pickens: 56.8 (45 snaps)
WR Chase Claypool: 56.0 (55 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 55.3 (23 snaps)
TE Connor Heyward: 34.3 (6 snaps)

Pat Freiermuth moved from the bottom of the list back into the top five this week thanks to a strong run block in grade of 72.6. Even though he didn’t get involved in the passing game until the fourth quarter, Freiermuth still had a 74.7 grade. What is ultimately disappointing is the bottom five scores consists of either tight ends or wide receivers. Connor Heyward was at the bottom due to a 40.6 run blocking score, but Chase Claypool’s 34.7 score in that department was actually the lowest of the team. Despite George Pickens making an incredible catch, his passing score was only 57.0 as he was credited with two drops.

Offensive Line

C Mason Cole : 79.3 (59 snaps)
G James Daniels: 70.5 (59 snaps)
OT Chuks Okorafor: 66.7 (59 snaps)
G Kevin Dotson: 65.1 (59 snaps)
OT Dan Moore Jr.: 63.6 (59 snaps)

Not only was every player on the Steelers offensive line above the 60.0 average, three of the five players saw improvements from the previous week. Chuks Okorafor came back down to earth a little bit after his superb score in Week 2 but still just missed the top five. Kevin Dotson saw a slight dip from the previous week as well with the false start penalty likely being the biggest factor. The one player who should be outlined is Dan Moore Jr. Despite being the only offensive lineman who had one of the individual grades below 60.0 as he scored a 57.3 in pass blocking, it should be noted his progression since last season and taking on Myles Garrett. With a 28.6 overall score in his first match up with Cleveland in Week 8 of 2021, Moore saw an improvement up to 45.7 in Week 17. But moving up to a 63.6 when having to face Myles Garrett once again seems to show Moore is trending in the proper direction in this key AFC North matchup.

It just doesn’t seem right that I almost left out the top performance on the offensive line in Mason Cole who saw a nice jump in his third game with the Steelers. It was Cole’s 83.8 pass blocking score which was best on the Steelers coupled with his 76.8 run blocking score which also was best on the team. Cole just edged out James Daniels for the best pass blocking score as he was just behind him with an 83.2 for the game.

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.

Steelers head into their ‘mini bye’ with injuries not being a concern

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/24/2022 - 7:30am
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a relatively healthy team heading into Week 4.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are reeling after their Week 3 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football. The 1-2 record has left a sour taste in players, coaches and fans’ mouths alike, but if there is a positive with the Steelers heading into Week 4 it is the health of the team.

Following the loss in Cleveland, Mike Tomlin said in his post-game press conference the only injury of note was a hamstring injury to starting cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon. Witherspoon left the game, and was quickly ruled out in the second half of the game.

Other than Witherspoon, there were no other injuries outside of the ‘bumps and bruises associated with the game’, as Tomlin would say.

Not to diminish the injury to Witherspoon, but the Steelers enter their ‘mini bye’ with a healthy roster. Sure, the absence of T.J. Watt, who is on Injured Reserve (IR), has been noticeable, but the team hasn’t had an injury designation leading up to a game this entire season. As the age-old adage says, “your best ability is availability.”

There will be a large portion of the fan base who doesn’t want to hear about the health of the team. Many will suggest it doesn’t, and won’t, matter either way. However, if the team is to turn their season around, having all players available will be incredibly important moving forward.

The Week 4 game vs. the New York Jets might be the last time the Steelers are favored in a contest for the foreseeable future, and winning the game will be paramount for their hopes of turning things around. Having every available player healthy enough to play will be key for the Steelers. With an extended break, we won’t know much about the status of a player like Witherspoon until the team returns to practice and Mike Tomlin speaks with media on Tuesday.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the Steelers as they prepare for the Jets to invade Acrisure Stadium in Week 4.

Brian Baldinger breaks down what went wrong for the Steelers vs. the Browns

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/24/2022 - 6:30am
David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers were losers in Week 3, and Brian Baldinger breaks down what went right, and what went really wrong.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were on the losing end of their AFC North divisional game vs. the Cleveland Browns in Week 3 on Thursday Night Football, and there was plenty which went wrong during the 29-17 loss.

Whether it was the play calling, defense’s inability to stop the run or playmakers just not stepping up when it mattered most, the list of what went wrong is long compared to the alternative.

When it comes to breaking down film, few do it better than the NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger. “Baldy” does it such a unique fashion. It’s him with his cell phone in one hand, and a clicker in the other, all while he provides commentary as to what he’s seeing on the film.

After the Week 3 game in prime time, Baldy had plenty to talk about. Some good, but plenty bad, for the Steelers. Let’s take a look at some of what he had to say about the game in Cleveland.

Steelers 3rd Down Woes

.@Steelers when you are 1-9 on 3rd downs that’s a tough way to make a living. But 5 of the misses were 3-5 or less. They simply have to execute better on 3rd downs to stay on the field. BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/c1QyktYvft

— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 23, 2022

George Pickens Catch

.@Steelers @George33101361 @Nunless2 look like if they touched the ball more this offense would have a little more “jump” to it. These rookies have juice. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/XjICHLrjPW

— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 23, 2022

Now for the bad. While this highlights what went right for the Browns, it also shows what the Steelers need to improve upon if they don’t want this to be their fate for the foreseeable future.

Time to take a look at the ugly which came from the game Thursday night:

.@Browns @NickChubb on a 2 foot jump cut! Not many backs can make this move and then run through contact. Cleveland knows a little about special running backs #dawgs #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/NKcCR31fWD

— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 23, 2022

.@browns offensive line looks “a chorus line”. Lineman love their assigned seats. It never changes. Very territorial about where they line up even on a flea flicker #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/D9gq891bW6

— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 23, 2022

.@Browns @AmariCooper9 had a good night at the office. Routers need time; and Brissett was patient waiting on Amari to WIN. Great blend of Power Runs and a solid complimentary passing game. #dawgpound gotta be feeling good today. Hello to oHIo. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/csV1RiLNO0

— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 23, 2022

.@Browns @JoelBitonio pulled 10X/38 runs. They love to run Power Zplsys using Bitonio to clean up the trash for Chubb/Hunt to find lanes. The UNION is back. #dawgpound #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/e5JBJACH4J

— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 23, 2022

As the Steelers put this game behind them, they now have an extended break before they start to prepare for the Week 4 game at home vs. the New York Jets. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes leading up to the next kickoff.

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 09/24/2022 - 5:30am

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:

Here We Go, The Steelers Pregame Show: When better isn’t good enough

Join Bryan Anthony Davis and Kevin Smith for Here We Go. The BTSC duo break down the Steelers like no one else does as Coach Smith and BAD shift gears and recap the Steelers Week 3 loss in Cleveland.

Check out the rundown

  • News and Notes
  • Better isn’t enough
  • and MUCH MORE!
Steelers Friday Night Six Pack with Tony: Offense continues to stutter in loss to Browns

After a promising start, the Steelers’ offense struggled mightily in the second half of Thursday night’s 29-17 loss to the Browns. But the offense wasn’t the only problem. This Steelers’ defense was and is merely average without T.J. Watt. Tony Defeo discusses those topics and more on this episode of Steelers Friday Night Six Pack!

Checkout a rundown of the show:

  • Steelers News and Notes
  • Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!
State of the Steelers: Is it time to press the panic button?

The Steelers couldn’t get it done against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday and some fans feel like it’s threat level midnight in the Steel City. Is a 1-2 record reason to sound the alarm? That’s the latest topic of discussion from Daniel Jay on the State of the Steelers. Join Daniel for the latest new offering from the Behind the Steel Curtain family of podcasts in addressing the State of the Steelers.

Checkout a rundown of the show:

  • Steelers News and Notes
  • Time to panic?
  • and MUCH MORE!

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

Friday Night Steelers Six Pack of questions and open thread: Week 3 Edition

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/23/2022 - 5:45pm
David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

There is always something to talk about when it comes to the Black & Gold!

It’s Friday again, so it’s time for the six pack of questions. It seems as if Jeff and Dave come to a consensus in cutting to the chase...

This week, I, Jeff, will be tasked with the questions up for discussion.

The rules are still the same...

Quick rundown of the ground rules.

  • I’ll ask at least four questions strictly related to the Steelers.
  • The rest of the questions could be about anything.
  • Be respectful.
  • Have fun talking about the Black-and-gold.

Procedural Note: Since the title feature has gone away, please feel free to leave your usual title as the first line of your response and even bold it if you can for the ease of others.

So here we go! With the formalities out of the way, it’s time to jump on in. Hopefully this party is exactly what you’re looking for on a Friday night. Here goes:

1. Let’s talk Steelers offense. Issues abound, but if you were to pinpoint one area where the offense can see improvement, where would it be?

2. The Steelers’ offense has struggled to put points on the board. Do you feel switching Trubisky for Pickett would actually make a difference? Explain your answer...

3. Let’s now turn the attention to the defense. The run defense has slowly turned into the 2021 version. I find it hard to believe this is all because of T.J. Watt’s injury. How do the Steelers shore up their run defense before Watt returns?

4. Who has been the most disappointing player for you on the defensive side of the ball throughout the first three weeks of the regular season?

5. Likewise, who has been the biggest disappointment on the offensive side of the football so far this season?

6. The Steelers are 1-2 heading into their “mini bye”. This also means the fan base has the weekend off from frustrating Steelers football. What will you be doing this weekend? Still watching football? Getting away from the game? I’ll be hitting the golf course at least once...would love to know how you all spend your time when the Steelers aren’t playing.

Stay safe out there!

And it wouldn’t be a Friday night unless we said...

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

PODCASTS

We added some new shows and a new platform to our podcasts...if you haven’t checked out our full lineup of morning, noon, and evening shows, give them a try by listening below!

NFL Odds and Predictions: Picking all the Week 3 games against the spread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/23/2022 - 2:00pm
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Several of the BTSC staff pick all the NFL games both against the spread and over/under point totals

The 2022 NFL season is now underway! Even with one tie throwing things off, there are 19 teams entering the week with a 1-1 record as only 6 teams are at 2-0. With still a small sample size, upsets are still bound to happen as a team could be 0-2 based on their first two matchups and be favored against a team with more wins.

For the 2022 NFL season, nine members of the BTSC will be picking every game against the spread and the over/under point totals. This feature will show all the games for the week including games on Thursday and Monday. Those specific game picks will be featured in the open thread articles for each game. Please remember we are not experts on betting or any kind of sports gamblers. We are just a group of Steelers’ fans saying who we think will come through each week.

We are using the same program as the last two years called Tallysight. It allows us to show picks in a much more “friendly to the eye” manner. To understand how it works, the default tab is for our picks against the spread. To see the over/under picks, click the “O/U” tab in the upper left. Also, make sure you scroll on the graphic to see all the picks. If there are quotation marks next to a pick, it means the person making the selection made a comment about the game.

Last week, there were two performances which stood out above the rest when picking against the spread. Jeremy led the way as he went 12-4 against the spread just ahead of me at 11-5 as the only two people over .500 again this week. Bringing up the rear was Jeff at 5-11. Jeremy also currently leads for the season against the spread at 22-10 while I’m just two games back at 20-12.

It was Kyle who topped the over/under picks last week going 11-5 with Matty bringing up the rear at 5-11. For the season, Jeff is in the lead at 19-13 just ahead of Kyle at 18-14. Combining both against the spread and the over/under, Jeremy and I are tied for the lead at 38-26 five games ahead of the next closest person.

So here are the picks for the games for Week 3 of the NFL season. Please feel free to list your choices in the comment section below and play along! Odd are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.

Steelers fan confidence falls off a cliff as blame gets pushed on Matt Canada

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/23/2022 - 12:30pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

A recent poll shows the Steelers global fan base is losing confidence at a rapid pace.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off an offseason to remember, as well as a great start to the preseason. The key word to the previous statement was “start.” Following their Week 1 NFL Preseason win over the Seattle Seahawks 32-25 at Acrisure Stadium, the team was able to escape with a win vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars in Duval county. The following week, the Steelers beat the Detroit Lions at home, to finish the preseason 3-0.

Throughout the final two weeks of the exhibition season, several warts on the team’s roster were exposed. The offensive line struggled, the running game stalled and questions remained about the defensive’s ability to stop the run.

As you can imagine, Steelers fans weren’t brimming with confidence heading into their Week 1 game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals in Ohio. Nonetheless, the team found a way to upset the Bengals 23-20 in overtime and move their record to 1-0.

Such a crazy game, and victory, you’d think this would create a big bump in fan confidence, right?

Not so much.

The Week 2 loss to the New England Patriots, one where the offense essentially failed to show up, caused the Steelers fan base to lose faith, and in a hurry. The confidence poll taken below was actually done BEFORE the Steelers Week 3 game vs. the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football.

Imagine what the confidence chart will look like next week after the 29-17 prime time loss to the Steelers’ AFC North rivals.

As a part of SB Nation’s Reacts poll, sponsored by DraftKings Sportsbook, every fan who takes the poll, which equates to a lot of fans, were asked a simple question:

Are you confident in the direction of the team?

When you go back and look at all that has transpired this offseason, it could go either way. Now throw in a two-game losing streak, and the confidence has fallen off a cliff.

How far did it drop after the Week 2 loss? Try a 60% drop in confidence. Take a look at where the confidence was, and where it is now, below:

Preseason Confidence: 91%
Pre-Regular Season Confidence: 81%
Week 1 Confidence: 80%
Week 2 Confidence: 20%

With confidence waning, it felt obvious to ask a follow-up question. This follow-up question pertained to Steelers offensive issues. The Steelers simply can’t get anything going on offense, and it was right to ask who was to blame.

So, I decided to ask the fan base if they felt the offensive woes were a product of the coordinator, the quarterback or the entire offense. The response was very anti-Matt Canada.

When looking at the results of the poll, it is worth noting the lowest percentage was for the quarterback. In other words, the fan base is blaming Canada first, and Mitch Trubisky last. Worth noting as the team meanders their way throughout the regular season.

A lot can change throughout the course of a regular season, and we’ll be sure to keep you up-to-speed on the fan base’s feelings of the team. But what say you? Do you have confidence in the direction of the team? Is it too early to tell?

Let us know what you think in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the New York Jets in Week 4 of the regular season.

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.

Steelers Fan Confidence falls off a cliff as blame gets pushed on Matt Canada

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/23/2022 - 12:30pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

A recent poll shows the Steelers global fan base is losing confidence at a rapid pace.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off an offseason to remember, as well as a great start to the preseason. The key word to the previous statement was ‘start’. Following their Week 1 NFL Preseason win over the Seattle Seahawks 32-25 at Acrisure Stadium, the team was able to escape with a win vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars in Duval county. The following week, the Steelers beat the Detroit Lions at home, to finish the preseason 3-0.

Throughout the final two weeks of the exhibition season, several warts on the team’s roster were exposed. The offensive line struggled, the running game stalled and questions remained about the defensive’s ability to stop the run.

As you can imagine, Steelers fans weren’t brimming with confidence heading into their Week 1 game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals in Ohio. Nonetheless, the team found a way to upset the Bengals 23-20 in overtime and move their record to 1-0.

Such a crazy game, and victory, you’d think this would create a big bump in fan confidence, right?

Not so much.

The Week 2 loss to the New England Patriots, one where the offense essentially failed to show up, caused the Steelers fan base to lose faith, and in a hurry. The confidence poll taken below was actually done BEFORE the Steelers Week 3 game vs. the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football.

Imagine what the confidence chart will look like next week after the 29-17 prime time loss to the Steelers’ AFC North rivals.

As a part of SB Nation’s Reacts poll, sponsored by DraftKings Sportsbook, every fan who takes the poll, which equates to a lot of fans, were asked a simple question:

Are you confident in the direction of the team?

When you go back and look at all that has transpired this offseason, it could go either way. Now throw in a two-game losing streak, and the confidence has fallen off a cliff.

How far did it drop after the Week 2 loss? Try a 60% drop in confidence. Take a look at where the confidence was, and where it is now, below:

Preseason Confidence: 91%
Pre-Regular Season Confidence: 81%
Week 1 Confidence: 80%
Week 2 Confidence: 20%

With confidence waning, it felt obvious to ask a follow-up question. This follow-up question pertained to Steelers offensive issues. The Steelers simply can’t get anything going on offense, and it was right to ask who was to blame.

So, I decided to ask the fan base if they felt the offensive woes were a product of the coordinator, the quarterback or the entire offense. The response was very anti-Matt Canada.

When looking at the results of the poll, it is worth noting the lowest percentage was for the quarterback. In other words, the fan base is blaming Canada first, and Mitch Trubisky last. Worth noting as the team meanders their way throughout the regular season.

A lot can change throughout the course of a regular season, and we’ll be sure to keep you up-to-speed on the fan base’s feelings of the team. But what say you? Do you have confidence in the direction of the team? Is it too early to tell?

Let us know what you think in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the New York Jets in Week 4 of the regular season.

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.

Steelers Week 3 snap counts show a team struggling to find better options

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/23/2022 - 11:00am
Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

There aren’t a lot of places left to look for better results.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now 1-2 three weeks in to the 2022 NFL regular season, and the upcoming schedule isn’t going to let up. Before the rest of the Week 3 games have taken place, the Steelers’ next five opponents have a current combined record of 9-1, and contain 3 of the NFL’s Top 5 offenses and the Top 2 defenses in points per drive.

It is unlikely the Steelers will see the return of a full-strength T.J. Watt before the bye week, which means the Steelers can’t really rely on Watt returning and single-handedly saving them. That leaves the Steelers looking for answers where, so far, they have failed to find them.

Let’s take a look at the team’s snap counts following the Week 3 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football...

Offense

The Steelers offensive line played the entire game together and continued their streak of playing better than the week before. It is actually impressive when you consider the absolute dumpster fire this line was to start the preseason and compare that to Week 3 when they were solid. The Steelers line is already looking like an average NFL line and still has room to improve. The Steelers continue to split running back snaps with Jaylen Warren playing almost a quarter of snaps the last two weeks, while Najee Harris’s 75% of snaps played is a decent drop off from his workload in 2021.

The Steelers personnel usage has stayed constant the last two games, averaging 2.73 wide receivers in Week 3 after averaging 2.76 wide receivers per snap in Week 2.

It is clear the Steelers believe their receiver group is their best unit and the key to turning the offense around, but the offense is still stagnant, and while Mitchell Trubisky had his best game of the season, his 81.1 passer rating and 6.47 yards per pass attempt from Week 3 is still not good enough. It’s almost a yard better than his current 5.5 ypa for the season, but would only rank 26th in the NFL instead of 31st.

If the Steelers are going to continue to focus on their receiver trio of Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and George Pickens, who take up 55% of the Steelers non-quarterback or offensive line snaps, they are going to have to get better results out of the passing game.

And that’s really where this team finds themselves. The offensive line is playing well, the run game is coming around, the receivers are being treated by the team as the key to the offense, but the passing game is abysmal. The Steelers rank 27th in yards per game, 31st in yards per attempt, 28th in touchdown percentage and 26th in passer rating.

Right now the Steelers are continuing to treat Trubisky as the answer at quarterback, but if results don’t drastically improve even from his improved play in Week 3, the team is going to have to consider making a change or be resigned to just throw away this season altogether.

Defense

The Steelers adapted to the loss of T.J. Watt with some creative personnel groupings in Week 2 and continued to experiment and adapt in Week 3. The Steelers again played the outside linebackers less than the usual 2 per snap, this time at 1.8 per snap. The Steelers played more inside linebackers in this game with 2.1 per snap. That follows trends of Brian Flores in the past to play extra inside linebackers, often lined up outside like an edge rusher. That alignment didn’t come from the inside backers this game, but from Terrell Edmunds who has moved around a lot this season.

Edmunds didn’t play 100% of snaps for the first time this season, missing four snaps this week, but he continued to play many roles in the Steelers defense. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Edmunds has lined up as a deep safety 68 times, in the slot 71 times, in the box 66 times, as an outside corner 11 times and on the line of scrimmage, like an edge rusher, 20 times.

He has been used to rush the quarterback, as a primary run defender, in various zone assignments and as a man cover specialist on anyone from tight ends to the opposing team’s best receiver.

The team has also been playing defensive lineman on the edge to help mitigate the loss of T.J. Watt, but while in Week 2 they used rookie DeMarvin Leal in that role the most, in Week 3 it was Cameron Heyward playing on the edge more.

The Steelers defense has been creative in addressing the loss of Watt, and in addressing their run defense struggles, but while they are showing they are open to trying different things, so far the success has been limited.

3 Winners and 8 Losers after the Steelers loss to the Browns

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/23/2022 - 9:30am
Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

Time to take a look at who would be considered a ‘Winner’ and a ‘Loser’ after the Steelers latest action on the gridiron.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field Thursday when they played the Cleveland Browns in Week 3 of regular season action. The Steelers were losers in the contest, but that doesn’t mean every player had a good or bad performance.

Players who play well can be considered ‘Winners’, while those who left a lot to be desired can be called ‘Losers’. It may sound harsh, but it is the crux of this exercise.

Let’s check in to see who fell on which side of the ledger after the latest game...

Winners

George Pickens
Stat Line: 3 catches, 39 yards, 13.0 average, 36 long, 7 targets, 1 amazing catch

The Steelers fan base had been waiting for Pickens’ “WOW” moment in the regular season, and he provided that on a national stage in Week 3. A tremendous catch which is one of the finest you’ll see in the NFL. Outside of that catch, Pickens was rather mundane, but that one catch puts him on the winners list.

1st Half Offense
Stat Line: 14 points scored

The first half offense was everything fans had wanted with Matt Canada at the helm. Running the football, sustaining drives, moving Trubisky out of the pocket. It was fun to watch, and it was productive. If this team could put together four quarters like this they would be tough to beat. But that didn’t happen Thursday night...more on that later.

Offensive Line
Stat Line: 1 sack surrendered / 104 rushing yards, 4.7 average

The whipping boys for the fan base, the offensive line, continue to improve as the year progresses. Again, before the running game was seemingly abandoned the team was moving bodies and they continued to protect the quarterback. It was their best performance of the season, and while it wasn’t perfect it was a big step in the right direction.

Losers

Ahkello Witherspoon
Stat Line: 5 tackles, 4 solo, 1 pass defense

Before Witherspoon left the game with a hamstring injury he was constantly in chase mode vs. Amari Cooper and giving up big plays. Throw in some hesitant, putting it nicely, tackle attempts and Witherspoon certainly left a lot on the field Thursday night.

Terrell Edmunds
Stat Line: 2 tackles, 1 solo

Edmunds had been having a great season following a great camp/preseason, but his coverage skills certainly are still his Achilles heal. The Browns isolated Edmunds on David Njoku early and often, and it paid off. Edmunds wasn’t as solid as usual in run support, and at a tie when they need everyone at their best, Edmunds reverted back to the player fans love to hate.

Defense w/o T.J. Watt
Stat Line: Winless without Watt

T.J. Watt is the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year, but the defense can’t be that reliant on one player, can they? It certainly seems like it considering the lack of negative plays has become a two week trend. Will they be able to finally win a game without Watt in the lineup fully healthy? They better hope so, or else this season could spiral out of control.

2nd Half Offense
Stat Line: 3 points

As much as I loved the first half offense, the second half offense was the polar opposite. The Steelers couldn’t run the ball due to three-and-outs, and their lack of positive plays on first and second downs allowed the Browns’ pass rush to pin their ears back and get after the quarterback. It was bad all around, from coordinator to quarterback.

Run Defense
Stat Line: 171 yards, 4.5 average

For all those people who thought the Steelers run defense was fixed, well, think again. For the second straight week the defense was gouged by the run when it mattered the most. Whenever the Steelers absolutely needed a stop, it was the run defense who was faltering. Again, this can’t be life without Watt, can it?

3rd Down Offense
Stat Line: 1-for-9

I honestly don’t know what else needs to be said...

Time of Possession
Stat Line: PIT: 23:51 / CLE: 36:09

A growing theme for the season is the Steelers’ defense being gassed due being on the field far too long. See the previous loser for reasons why this stat line is so skewed.

Pat Freiermuth Targets
Stat Line: 0 until the final offensive drive

I understand keeping a tight end in to block, but when you have a player who can stretch the field and be an absolute mismatch nightmare for linebackers and/or safeties, I don’t understand why it took until the waning minutes of the game before even seeing a target.

If you want a more detailed look at the above list, check out my “Let’s Ride” podcast where I outline each Winner and Loser, and MORE!

Report Card: Grading the Steelers Week 3 loss to the Browns

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/23/2022 - 8:30am
Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

Looking at how the Steelers played in Cleveland.

The Steelers are now 0-7-1 since the start of the 2020 season when T.J. Watt plays less than 50% of the defensive snaps for the game. When he is on the field for at least half the snaps they are 22-6 in that same time span.

Obviously we won’t be grading T.J. Watt for this game, but there are plenty of players to look at, and plenty of blame to go around.

Offense

The Steelers offense had their most productive game of the season, and at half time looked like they were breaking through and playing well. That didn’t hold up in the second half with four straight punts and three of their first four possessions failing to pick up even one first down.

The offensive line continues on an upward curve, and has become a solid pass protection group that are also improving in their run blocking. It isn’t good yet, but they aren’t a liability anymore.

Mitch Trubisky played his best game of the season so far, and yet still only put up a yards per attempt of 6.375, which is still not good. He also missed open receivers in he middle of the field, and on a day when the Steelers run game was looking better than it has in a while, and the Browns losing both of their starting inside linebackers to injury, Pat Freiermuth wasn’t targeted until the 4th quarter. In fact, no other tight end was targeted despite playing much more than they did against the Patriots in Week 2. When you add in the number of open receivers in the middle of the field that didn’t get thrown to it’s pretty damning for the quarterback.

The bottom line is the offense can keep looking good, but until they can score a respectable amount of points they still haven’t done an acceptable job.

Honor Roll: Jaylen Warren, George Pickens’ ridiculous catch, Most of the offensive line play.

Demerits: Passing to the middle of the field, Chukwuma Okorafor negating the longest play of the game, the second half.

Final Grade: D Defense

The Steelers played their worst game of the season on defense, and still kept the Steelers in the game despite their anemic offense. Sadly, the Steelers run defense continues to struggle, this game a particularly bad one. I’m not going to be too hard on the defense for that as the Browns are the premier rushing team in the league, and running the ball is always a better strategy in a Thursday night home game.

This Steelers defense needs the extra days off. The only things they need more than some rest is an offense that scores a reasonable amount of points and the return of T.J. Watt.

Alex Highsmith bounced back from a disappointing Week 2 with a strong performance including 1.5 sacks and good run defense despite being a clear focus of the Browns scheme.

Honor Roll: Alex Highsmith, Cameron Sutton, Cameron Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi

Demerits: Akhello Witherspoon, Chris Wormley and DeMarvin Leal in run defense.

Final Grade: D (but a higher D than the offense) Special Teams

The kickers struggled in the wind, with Chris Boswell missing a field goal and Pressley Harvin having his worst day punting of the season, even if some lucky bounces helped him out. The return teams did nothing to speak of, and the special teams highlight of the game was a deflected punt from Miles Killebrew.

Honor Roll: Miles Killebrew, Myles Boykin, James Pierre.

Demerits: The wind.

Final Grade: C Overall

The Steelers played a good half, and a dreadful half of football in Week 3. The first half is enough to save them from an F, but it isn’t enough to get a C.

This game felt winnable, but the Steelers couldn’t get it done and the touchdown to end the game was a bit of salt in the wound. The worst part is even though the score stays close, it feels less and less like the Steelers are a threat to pull out the win.

Final Grade: D

Now it’s your turn to tell us what you think. Vote your grade for the Steelers overall performance and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Analyzing the Steelers Week 3 loss to the Browns, by the numbers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/23/2022 - 7:30am
Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

The Steelers offense seemed to come alive in the first half but failed to come through down the stretch.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 season is underway and the Steelers fell short for the second-straight game as they suffered their second loss in five days. Dropping to 1-2 and 1-1 in the AFC North, the Steelers now have 10 days to get ready for their next game at home against the New York Jets.

So without further ado, here are some of the numbers involved in the Steelers loss to the Browns.

-1

I generally highlight the Steelers turnover margin as the first stat in this article. Although the Steelers technically had a -1, it did not affect the outcome of this game in any way. In fact, all it did was change the score as the Steelers were trying to desperately pull something off and go 96 yards on the final play of the game. Instead, it went down as a fumble recovery for a touchdown for the Browns. The Steelers did a good job of taking care of the ball otherwise, but they also were unable to force any takeaways on the night.

1

One statistic that looks really bad is the Steelers only had one third-down conversion in the game. While that sounds awful, the Steelers didn’t have any third down conversions in the first half because on their two touchdown drives they never reached a third-down play and therefore were only 0–3 in the half. Their only third-down conversion came on the third play of the second half when the Steelers converted a third and 9 with a 14-yard pass to Chase Claypool. Unfortunately, the Steelers failed to convert their next 5 third down opportunities.

6.8 vs. 4.3

The Pittsburgh Steelers offense was moving the ball well in the first half even though it took them several drives to get going. For the half, the Steelers gained 6.8 yards per play as they had 197 yards on 29 plays. This was more than a yard better than the Browns who were 5.7 yards per play. But in the second half, the Steelers saw this number drop significantly down to 4.3 yards per play. While the Brown’s number dropped as well, it was still better than the Steelers at 4.9 yards per play.

16

This number is actually going to be used multiple times. In the game, the Cleveland Browns ran 16 more plays than the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since they both had the same number of passing plays, the Browns ultimately had 16 more rushing attempts than the Steelers. The use of the number 16 still isn’t done as the Steelers, after running for 88 yards in the first half, only had 16 rushing yards on six attempts in the second half.

4.7 vs. 4.5

With a large discrepancy in the number of rushing attempts by each team, the Steelers actually ran the ball more efficiently than the Cleveland Browns. For the game, the Steelers averaged 4.7 yards per carry as they had 104 rushing yards on 22 rushing attempts. Although the Cleveland Browns ran for 171 yards, it was on 38 rushing attempts which left them with a 4.5 yards per carry average.

1

While the Steelers held an advantage in rushing the quarterback in the first half of the game, the Steelers only managed one quarterback hit in the second half against Cleveland. With three quarterback hits and one being a sack in the first half, the Steelers kept the Browns from touching Mitch Trubisky in the first half as they had no quarterback hits or sacks. But in the second half, Cleveland caught up as they ultimately finished with one sack and two quarterback hits. The Steelers only quarterback hit in the second half was a sack by Alex Highsmith who had 1.5 on the night. The only other person to register a quarterback hit for the Steelers was Larry Ogunjobi who also split the sack with Highsmith.

51:18

For those tuning in to this primetime game to see the Steelers up-and-coming tight end, they had to wait a long time for him to get into the action. Pat Freiermuth went over 50 minutes of clock time in this game before he even saw his first target. Not even having a pass his way until 8:46 left in the game, which was a failed third-down pass attempt, Freiermuth did end up with two catches for 41 yards on the night on back-to-back plays.

12:18

Once again, the Steelers came out on the wrong side of the time of possession difference. With more than 12 minutes advantage to Cleveland, that’s almost the equivalent of an extra quarter. Although the Steelers were 3:30 behind in the first half, it was the difference of more than eight minutes in the second half which took its toll on the Steelers defense.

5 on 5

This needs a little bit of an explanation. During the game, I recorded how many yards were gained on first down by each team and broke it down by quarters. The Browns were fairly consistent with their yardage with a game average of 5.39 yards per play with their lowest quarter being 5.0 yards per play in the third quarter and their best being 6.83 yards per play in the third quarter when looking only at first down. The Steelers did even better on first down for the entire game with a 6.62 yard per play average. The Steelers had 6.43 yards per first down play in the first quarter and 7.56 yards per play in the second quarter. Their biggest output was in the fourth quarter with 10.16 yards per play mainly because of the three big plays on their field goal drive when they were pushing the ball down the field. Ultimately, the stat that stands out like a sore thumb is the Steelers yardage on first down in the third quarter. On five different first down plays, the Steelers only gained a total of 5 yards. It did not help that this contained the only negative play on first down by either team on the night where the Steelers lost 4 yards. But failing to score and significantly move the ball throughout the quarter was apparent based on their first-down production.

0

With another tally going in the loss column, the Steelers have a big fat zero to add to their win total for the 2022 season. With all those other numbers contributing in some way, this is ultimately the only one that matters.

So there are some numbers to help put the Steelers Week 2 loss in perspective. Even though the defense kept the score under 20, the offense continued to struggle to put points on the board as the Steelers fell to 1-1.

So what numbers from Sunday’s game stand out to you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

What was the game-changing moment in the Steelers loss to the Patriots?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/23/2022 - 6:30am
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Steelers fell off in the second half on Thursday night. What was the biggest moment that led to the defeat?

The Pittsburgh Steelers have dropped their second-straight game of the 2022 season. After holding a one-point at halftime, the Steelers offense couldn’t get rolling in the second half.

But what was the biggest moment that sent the Steelers down the path to the loss?

With each win for the Steelers this season being where we hand out a game ball and look at the top individual performance, each loss we will take a look at what we will call the “game-changing moment” of the game. What was the individual play or a set of plays that ended up being the biggest contribution to the loss? While it does not necessarily come down to just one thing that keeps a team from winning, it also doesn’t mean that all the moments share equal blame.

Last week, the biggest game-changing moment was determined to be the muffed punt which came in with 58% of the votes. Just after the missed interception, the Patriots were punting from their own 43-yard line. On a play that only had 10 players on the field for the Steelers as one of the gunners for the Patriots had a free run down the field, Gunner Olszewski called for a fair catch but allowed the ball to hit off his face mask and the Patriots were waiting patiently for the recovery. A penalty on the play also added half the distance to the goal and gave the Patriots the ball at the 10-yard line where they ultimately scored three plays later.

I will reiterate for everyone of the rules that it is individual plays or series that will be highlighted. Although it could be applicable, it will not be total performances as they are more in line for Jeff Hartman’s Winners and Losers article.

So here are the nominations in chronological order:

Nick Chubb’s 36-yard run

On the Browns first two offensive positions of the game, they only gained a total of 14 yards. After the wind pushed Chris Boswell’s 50-yard field goal attempt wide to the right, the Browns took over with good field position at their own 40-yard line. The Steelers held the Browns to have to go for a fourth down attempt at midfield which was converted. Up to that point, the Browns really hadn’t had any success on offense outside of one 13-yard run. But the next play, Nick Chubb busted a run for 36 yards down to the Steelers 12-yard line. It was two plays later when the Browns scored their first touchdown and from that point on their offense had much more success moving the football.

The only negative play on 1st down

Holding onto a one-point lead, the Pittsburgh Steelers got the ball to start the second half of the game. After achieving three first downs, the Steelers moved the ball into Cleveland territory. But on their next first-down attempt from the 46-yard line, a pass was thrown to Najee Harris well behind the line of scrimmage in traffic in the middle of the field and he was tackled for a 4-yard loss. It was the only negative play on first down the entire night by either team and put the Steelers well behind the sticks in a drive which looked like it was going to add to their lead.

The illegal man downfield penalty

On the very next play, the Steelers ran a beautiful pass to Jaylen Warren for 35 yards all the way down to the Browns 15-yard line. With the Steelers appearing to be in business in the red zone to add to their lead, the play was ultimately called back when Chuks Okorafor was called for being an illegal man downfield before the pass. Instead of being first and 10 at the Cleveland 15-yard line, the Steelers then faced a second 19 at their own 45.

Diontae Johnson’s dropped catch on 3rd down

After the Steelers defense spent more than seven minutes on the field for the Browns first drive of the second half, the Steelers offense barely gave them a rest as they did not achieve a first down. On a third and three from their own 32-yard line, Mitch Trubisky threw a deep pass to Diontae Johnson. While it wasn’t an egregious drop, it was a catchable ball which would have completely changed both the Steelers field position and their ability to give their defense some rest.

Three-straight drives being 3 & out

Last week it was the final two drives of the game where the Steelers went three and out and never got another possession. This time, the streak started much sooner as it was with just over 2:30 left in the third quarter when the Steelers had their first of three offensive possessions that did not yield a first down. The three-straight three and outs by the Steelers only gave them 3:31 of possession over a span of 20:21 of the gamecock throughout the third and fourth quarter.

So what do you think? What was the biggest moment that had the most effect on the Steelers loss this week? Make sure you vote in the poll as this is how the winner (which is ultimately the loser) will be determined. And of course, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Post-Game Sound: Hear from Steelers coaches and players after the loss to the Browns

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/23/2022 - 6:00am
Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field in Week 3 of the regular season. Take a look and listen to what was said after the game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were losers for the second time this regular season with their loss to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football.

After the game, there was plenty of video/audio to take in from the locker room and down at field level. Here at BTSC we try to gather as much information as possible for those fans who might not be on social media and see this on a weekly basis.

Therefore, in the post-game sound article you will hear from head coach Mike Tomlin, and a myriad of other players as the Steelers official Twitter account goes around the room to hear from all who participated on Sunday.

Enjoy the content and be sure to stay with BTSC for all things black-and-gold as they prepare for the next game of the regular season. The next game on the docket is the Week 4 game vs. the New York Jets at Acrisure Stadium, but first, the post-game sound:

Mike Tomlin Post-Game Press Conference

Coach Tomlin on tonight's game against the Browns: pic.twitter.com/dP7aoEdkmq

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 23, 2022

Mitch Trubisky Post-Game Press Conference

Mitch Trubisky speaks to the media following tonight's game: pic.twitter.com/q4Fa4t1TEi

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 23, 2022

Alex Highsmith Post-Game Press Conference

Alex Highsmith speaks to the media following tonight's game: pic.twitter.com/hDbCdy2CwE

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 23, 2022

Around the Locker Room

Najee Harris compliments the Steelers O-line, says the skill position guys have to be better pic.twitter.com/6HhW9HwDP6

— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) September 23, 2022

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 09/23/2022 - 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 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:

What Yinz Talkin’ Bout: Misinformation Mutiny

What Yinz Talkin’ Bout is the conversation about the Steelers social media conversation. Hosts Kyle Chrise (@KyleChrise) & Greg Benevent (@GregBenevent) expose the hottest and most toxic takes from the internet. This week, the fans are divided over who to hate more: Mitch or Matt. We’ll break down the bad takes on each side of the argument. Plus, an so-called ‘insider’ tries to divide Steeler Nation with misinformation disguised as player mutiny. And the player who handed over the bag for a night of fun with an OnlyFans model.

Rundown of the show:

  • Toxic Takes
  • Mitch vs, Matt
  • Much, Much More

Take a deep dive into the world of Steelers social media from a yinzer perspective as BTSC proudly presents a very unique show that highlights “What Yinz Talkin’ Bout”.

Last Minute Thoughts before the Steelers TNF Matchup in Cleveland

There’s always a lot of material rolling through a Steelers fan’s cranium on Game Day. What’s the injury report telling us? Did something happen that I missed? Am I going to even see the game in my broadcast area? What’s the line if I want to bet my mortgage on the game? At BTSC, we’re no different. Join BTSC with our last minute thoughts as you prepare to wave that Terrible Towel. This week, Dave Schofield gives his last minute thoughts right before the Steelers travel to Cleveland for a Thursday Night rematch with The Breveland Clowns. I mean Cleveland Browns.

The BTSC Mike Tomlin Press Conference Recap: Browns 29, Steelers 17

A rivalry that goes back seven decades continued on Thursday Night between two teams that have no love lost for each other. In the end, the home team Browns were way too much for the visiting Steelers in the 29-17 loss to Cleveland. Of course, Mike Tomlin had a lot to say to the media afterwards. Join BTSC Editor Dave Schofield as he recaps and translates the post-game press conference.

The BTSC Steelers Post-Game Show: The Steelers leave first half momentum in the locker room in 29-17 loss to Cleveland

After an unimpressive two weeks of offensive football, the Pittsburgh Steelers still managed a 1-1 record. With fingers pointing here, there, and everywhere, Mike Tomlin’s team traveled to Cleveland to fix their early season mistakes by the lake. However, they couldn’t put together a complete game in the 29-17 loss to the rival Browns. Join Kyle Chrise and Greg Benevent filling in for Jeff Hartman, Dave Schofield, and Bryan Anthony Davis to break down the game like no one else does on What Yinz Talkin’ Bout Live on the latest edition of The Steelers Post-Game Show.

Let’s Ride Friday: Winners and Losers from the Steelers 29-17 Week 3 loss in Cleveland

The Pittsburgh Steelers were seemingly on the verge of disaster, mutiny, and disrepair going into a Week 3 rivalry game in Cleveland. In the first half, the Steelers looked to have solved their problems, but left it all in the locker room to fall to Cleveland by the score of 29-17. Of course, there was good, bad, ugly, unfortunate, and ugly. BTSC Senior Editor Jeff Hartman diagnoses all five, and gives his thoughts on the game, on the latest episode of “Let’s Ride”.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Winners and Losers
  • Hart to Heart
  • and MUCH MORE!

Jeff Hartman of BTSC walks you through everything you need to know regarding the black-and-gold.

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

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

Mike Tomlin not considering a change in QB following the Week 3 loss

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 09/22/2022 - 10:55pm
Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers fan base is ready for a change, but Mike Tomlin isn’t.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were losers in Week 3, falling 29-17 to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football. Offensively, not everything was bad. The team put up 14 first half points, but stalled in every sense of the word in the second half.

Mitch Trubisky remained at the helm for the duration of the game in Cleveland, and after three straight three-and-outs in the second half, fans are wondering if Mike Tomlin has seen enough to make a change.

Evidently, he hasn’t.

After the game Tomlin was asked by media if he was considering making a change at the position with the team having a 10-day layoff following the Thursday night game. His answer was simple.

“Definitively no.”

This per Brooke Pryor of ESPN:

Asked Mike Tomlin if he considers making a change a QB or playcallers in the minibye

Tomlin: “definitively no.”

— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) September 23, 2022

To be fair, the Steelers loss wasn’t solely on Trubisky’s shoulders. While there were throws/decisions the quarterback would like to have back, these mistakes were of the back-breaking variety.

With the extra time between the next game, the Steelers organization will try to find a way to put together an offensive plan which can be effective. The Steelers saw first half success vs. the Browns, but this success didn’t carry over into the second half, where they added just three points to their total.

The news of Tomlin not considering a change at the game’s most important position will certainly not be accepted well within the fan base, and begs the question what would need to happen barring injury for the team to decide to give Kenny Pickett a shot.

In the meantime, expect more Trubisky moving forward.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the New York Jets at Acrisure Stadium in Week 4.

Knee-Jerk Reactions to the Steelers 29-17 loss to the Browns

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 09/22/2022 - 10:37pm
Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

The Steelers offense could only manage three points in the second half after holding a slight halftime lead.

Knee-jerk reactions are immediate responses to a situation without taking the time to analyze the situation. That’s something as sports fans that we typically do. Especially if you are a full blood Yinzer, or even just a part Yinzer. As is the custom, I compile my knee-jerk thoughts and publish them immediately after each Steelers game (my son Kyle might have a few things to say as well). It’s my version of running my mouth first and apologizing later (or not). So with that being said, I’m going to employ that philosophy here during Week 3 of the NFL Regular Season.

1st Quarter

  • Steelers to kickoff. Bring on more football.
  • Defense gets them to a third and 10. Will we see the soft zone early? We did, but Wallace made a great play to knock it away.
  • You know it's bad when Al Michaels is calling the Steelers offense dink & dunk before they even get going.
  • Third and five the Steelers at least throw the ball down the field, but it falls incomplete and they will punt after one first down.
  • Highsmith jumps off side on 3rd and 6 now making it a third and one.
  • Lary O. with the sack on 3rd down.
  • Killebrew got a piece of that punt and the Steelers will have great field position to start their second possession.
  • Nice 10 yarder by Najee.
  • An okay run on first down is followed by two terrible looking pass plays. Boswell will come on to try to put the Steelers on the board.
  • The wind gets a hold of it and pushes it right from 50 yards.
  • Defense quickly gets them to third down and nine. Looks like they might be just short. I expect them to go for it quickly.
  • A QB sneak gets the Browns the first.
  • Chubb gashes the defense on that run. Witherspoon wiffed on the tackle near the line of scrimmage.
  • That pass for the touchdown to Cooper was way too easy by the defensive backs. The Steelers missed their opportunity for points and then turn around and give up a touchdown.
  • Brown 7, Steelers 0.
  • Oh my goodness. What a catch by Pickens.
  • The hurry up offense has been the Steelers friend again.
  • That's the end of quarter number one. Browns 7, Steelers 0.

2nd Quarter

  • Cleveland's offsides on the first play of the second quarter, but it doesn't matter as Najee runs it in for a touchdown. Steelers 7, Browns 7.
  • The Steelers got really lucky on that play as Cooper hit the sideline before catching the ball.
  • The defense had too many guys on the field and end up having to burn a time out. I hate burning timeouts for unnecessary reasons.
  • The defense gives up a third and nine. Why they give up so many long third down conversions is hard to tell.
  • Witherspoon cannot cover Amari Cooper.
  • The Browns just seem to be moving the ball at will right now.
  • Another pitch and catch for a touchdown. The extra point hits the upright. Browns 13, Steelers 7.
  • Nice job by Trubisky avoiding a sack and getting the ball downfield to Diontae.
  • Dionte then saves the ball after Jaylen Warren fumbles.
  • The Steelers are definitely running the ball better tonight.
  • Trubisky on the quarterback keeper runs in for the touchdown. You can't say the offensive line wasn't blocking well on that series. Steelers 14, Browns 13.
  • That was some pretty poor tackling by the Steelers there.
  • The defense has got them in another third and long.
  • Steelers hold them short, but Cleveland is taking the time out and I think they are going to go for it on 4th and 2.
  • The Browns convert and keep their drive going. Hold on now, they've called for the play to be reviewed and it was determined to not be a catch. Steelers take over.
  • After picking up some yards Trubisky then throws two balls out of bounds not near any receivers. I think the Steelers squandered a chance at points there.
  • That's the half. Steelers 14, Browns 13.

3rd Quarter

  • Nice catch by Claypool to pick up a first down.
  • Browns get caught with an extra guy on the field.
  • Was that Najee Harris or Edwin Moses out there?
  • Great catch and run by Warren but there is a flag on the play. They caught Chuks downfield ineligible. Takes away the big gain.
  • Steelers are able to get it back to a manageable third down. Would be really nice to convert this one.
  • Steelers don't convert. Harvin on to punt.
  • Witherspoon still can't cover Cooper.
  • The defense needs to quit trying to tackle Chubb high. His legs are too strong— you got to cut them out.
  • Cleveland goes for it on 4th and 1 and converts easily. I really don't feel like the defense has played as well tonight as they did in the first two games.
  • Browns are in the red zone, but the defense gets them to a third and 10.
  • The defense holds and the Browns will attempt to field goal. It's good. Browns 16, Steelers 14.
  • Steelers quickly get to third down and really need to convert to give the defense a break but they throw it deep and it's incomplete. I expect to see the defense get gassed in this game like they did the last game.
  • End of the third quarter. Brown 16, Steelers 14.

4th Quarter

  • Cooper burns them again.
  • The defense is not able to get Chubb on the ground.
  • This is a very tired looking defense.
  • The defense gets a hold to 4th and goal but Chubb punches it in. Browns 23, Steelers 14.
  • The Steelers are down two scores. If they go three and out here I will die.
  • What do you know they face a third and 10.
  • Check that as a false start will make it third and 15.
  • Incomplete pass and the Steelers go three and out. They're dismal third down conversion rate continues. That will probably be the ball game.
  • Highsmith looking a little bit like T.J. Watt on that play.
  • The defense holds, so the offense will get another shot.
  • What do you know the offense goes three and out again. The Steelers haven’t been able to generate any offense in the fourth quarter the past two games.
  • Highsmith gets home for the sack on 3rd down.
  • Muth finally gets his first catch of the game with under 3 minutes to play.
  • The drive stalls and the Steelers will go for a field goal to get it to one possession. Browns 23, Steelers 17.
  • The Steelers line up for the onside kick, but end up with a penalty and Cleveland gets the ball. How fitting.
  • The defense holds them on third down, but the Steelers will get the ball back with about 10 seconds or so left to play.
  • The defense can't get stops when it has to have them and the offense can't move the ball when it needs to.
  • I must say that I was quite disappointed with the Steeler second half performance.
  • I guess it's also fitting that on the last play the Steelers play the lateral game, turn it over and the Browns score another touchdown.
  • Final score Browns 29, Steelers 17.

There you have it, my knee jerks. so I will sit on this for almost a week, analyze it and then talk about it on The Scho Bro Show. CAN’T WAIT!!!

Pages

Subscribe to Steelers Fans of Minnesota aggregator