You are here

Links

Steelers bring back a wide receiver to their practice squad

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 09/20/2022 - 9:29am
Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jaquarri Roberson spent one week away from the Steelers before returning on Tuesday.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a very quick turnaround in Week 3 as they prepare to travel to Cleveland for Thursday Night Football. On what would normally be a day off for the players, they will be at the facility on Tuesday for their only normal practice of the week. Ahead of the team taking the practice field at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, the Steelers have announced a move in regards to the practice squad as they have re-signed wide receiver Jaquarri Roberson and released cornerback Mark Gilbert.

We have signed WR Jaquarii Roberson to the practice squad and released CB Mark Gilbert from the practice squad. @BordasLaw https://t.co/gLL7ethoLz

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 20, 2022

Roberson was an undrafted free agent out of Wake Forest in 2022. Originally signing with the Dallas Cowboys, Roberson appeared in two preseason games with Dallas where he had only 11 snaps on offense and 15 on special teams. Roberson did not have any receptions this preseason nor was he targeted. While at Wake Forest, Roberson had 145 catches for 2,158 yards and 17 touchdowns in 40 games. Robinson was signed to the Steelers practice squad on Wednesday, September 7 ahead of the Steelers Week 1 matchup but was released last Tuesday when the Steelers signed outside linebacker Ryan Anderson.

To make room for Roberson on the practice squad, the Steelers released cornerback Mark Gilbert. On the Steelers practice squad in 2021, Gilbert was signed during the season to the active roster of the Detroit Lions. After failing to make their 53-man roster in 2022, the Steelers signed Gilbert on September 1.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for continued coverage as the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare to face the Browns in Cleveland this Thursday night.

Steelers offensive PFF grades show the line was not the problem

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 09/20/2022 - 9:00am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

In the grades provided by PFF, the Steelers offense line has most of their players at the top of the list.

The Pittsburgh Steelers followed up their big road win to start the season by coming up short in their home opener. Although the Steelers defense surrendered less points than the previous week, it was not getting the key stops at the end of the game which was their downfall. But even if they did get the ball back, the offense had gone three and out the previous two possessions, so there definitely wasn’t anything close to a guarantee that they would put up the necessary score.

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 2 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 played 59 snaps on offense in Sunday’s game.

Overall

Top 5 (regardless of position)

OT Chuks Okorafor: 84.6 (59 snaps)
WR Diontae Johnson: 84.4 (51 snaps)
G Kevin Dotson: 76.7 (59 snaps)
FB Derek Watt: 71.4 (1 snap)
G James Daniels: 69.1 (59 snaps)
C Mason Cole : 69.1 (59 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of position)

WR George Pickens: 59.5 (50 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 58.5 (20 snaps)
WR Chase Claypool: 56.9 (54 snaps)
OT Dan Moore Jr.: 52.2 (59 snaps)
TE Pat Freiermuth: 46.5 (48 snaps)

Quarterback

QB Mitch Trubisky: 61.6 (59 snaps)

Trubisky’s grade barely dropped from last week as he once again is hovering just above the 60.0 standard which every player begins. You can read into this any way you want to based on your thoughts on Trubisky. One way could be that he’s not doing anything special at the position while the other is that he’s not doing things terribly. It’s up to you.

Running Backs

FB Derek Watt: 71.4 (1 snap)
RB Najee Harris: 65.3 (42 snaps)
RB Jaylen Warren: 61.0 (17 snaps)

Although the order stayed the same from Week 1, the scores went up significantly at running back. Even though Jaylen Warren was last on the list, he was above the highest score from the previous week. I still can’t understand why PFF continues to give Warren a terrible pass blocking score, this time at 18.3 on two pass blocking plays. Najee Harris missed the pick up which led to a sack and his score was only a 27.0 but was still better than Warren‘s. When looking at the difference between the two running backs, Najee Harris had a much higher passing scoreof 74.4 where Jaylen Warren had a better running score of 67.7. Derek Watt only played one snap, but by getting a first down he landed in the top five for the offense.

Receivers

WR Diontae Johnson: 84.4 (51 snaps)
WR Gunner Olszewski: 65.5 (8 snaps)
TE Connor Heyward: 60.1 (4 snaps)
WR George Pickens: 59.5 (50 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 58.5 (20 snaps)
WR Chase Claypool: 56.9 (54 snaps)
TE Pat Freiermuth: 46.5 (48 snaps)

This group really took a dive in their scores from the previous week. Pat Freiermuth went from being toward the top in Week 1 to the lowest score on offense this week despite catching the Steelers only touchdown. Diontae Johnson led the way with the second-highest score on the offense, but the bigger story is only having two players with any significant margin above 60.0. What’s worse is one of them only played eight snaps, none of which were passing plays.

Offensive Line

OT Chuks Okorafor: 84.6 (59 snaps)
G Kevin Dotson: 76.7 (59 snaps)
G James Daniels: 69.1 (59 snaps)
C Mason Cole : 69.1 (59 snaps)
OT Dan Moore Jr.: 52.2 (59 snaps)

Often I say to look at PFF to see if their grades pass your own eye test, and this week the offensive line scores did just that. I thought I saw significant improvement in the squad all around and the fact that four of the five starters landed at the top five, albeit one was a tie for the fifth spot, goes to show that this unit was not what was holding the offense back. The biggest score of note should be Chuks Okorafor whose 84.6 overall offensive score had him as the second-highest score of any offensive lineman in the NFL in Week 2 only behind left tackle Andrew Thomas of the New York Giants (with the Monday night scores not reported at this time).

Okorafor led all players in the run blocking department with a 90.6 and all the offensive linemen were above the 60.0 standard with the exception of Dan Moore Jr. at a 41.0. Even though Moore landed in the bottom five for the week, he did have the third-best pass blocking score of a 76.6 which was actually ahead of Chuks at 72.2. Leading the way in the pass blocking was James Daniels with an 84.0 followed by Kevin Dotson with a 77.0. As much as I want to see the offensive line improve, even if they just had this same performance that they had in Week 2 moving forward it would get the job done. Now the rest of the offense, including the coaches, need to play with the confidence the line is doing what is needed. And when they do, the line needs to be up to the challenge.

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.

TURNING POINT: Disastrous 20-second stretch dooms the Steelers in ugly loss to Patriots

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 09/20/2022 - 8:00am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The 20-second sequence ended up being the dagger for the Steelers in Week 2.

(Editor’s Note: We are aware of another outlet who is deploying a similar article weekly following games. Despite us being the first ones to use this format, we have no plans of stopping the series simply because someone else is using the idea.)

Following each game this season, I’m writing an article that takes one play, or a small sequence of plays, and examines how it became the “turning point” in each Steelers contest. This week, the focus is on a 20-second stretch of the 3rd quarter that saw the Steelers commit a series of self-inflicted wounds that set up a decisive New England touchdown in a 17-14 loss to the Patriots.

From the moment Ben Roethlisberger took the reins as Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback in 2004, the contests between the Steelers and Patriots felt like heavyweight fights. The fact the Patriots got the better of those fights shouldn’t diminish their gravitas. Pittsburgh-New England in the Big Ben vs. Brady era were must-see contests that regularly featured two of the best teams in the league. They produced some of the most memorable games in my tenure as a Steelers fan, from the Halloween slugfest in 2004 where Jerome Bettis rumbled through the Patriots, to the infamous Jesse James catch/no catch, to numerous soul-crushing playoff defeats. I hated those Patriots teams and wanted nothing more than to beat them.

Sunday’s contest between these two proud franchises resembled their predecessors in name only. Neither the Steelers nor Patriots are very good right now. The 2022 version of their rivalry promised to be a contest decided less by which team would win and more by which would make enough mistakes to lose.

In that sense, it did not disappoint.

Unfortunately, the team whose mistakes proved most costly was the Steelers. Granted, Pittsburgh was hamstrung by an offense that was utterly feckless for most of the contest. Their “small ball” approach featured an array of dinks and dunks designed to protect quarterback Mitchell Trubisky from both the Patriots and himself. According to NextGen stats, Trubisky threw just three passes that travelled 20+ air yards while making six throws at or behind the line of scrimmage and 14 others that travelled less than 10 yards. The logic of such an approach was to keep things safe, not lose the game on offense and, in the words of the immortal Hank Stramm, to matriculate the ball down the field. Inevitably, the Steelers were not good enough to sustain drives in this fashion, as penalties, an inconsistent running game and Trubisky’s incompetence did them in. Pittsburgh gained a paltry 243 yards while authoring a passing attack that resembled a high school JV team.

They lost this game because their offense stinks. That’s the bottom line.

Trubisky’s hit chart shows a continued absence of throws to the middle of the field

And yet, despite that reality, it’s possible the game would have ended in Pittsburgh’s favor were it not for a disastrous 20-second stretch late in the 3rd quarter from their defense and special teams. Trailing 10-6, the Steelers botched a gift from New England quarterback Mac Jones when Jones inexplicably threw a ball directly into cornerback Cam Sutton’s lap that Sutton dropped. Then, two plays later, the normally sure-handed Gunner Olszewsky allowed a punt to careen off his facemask and onto the ground, where New England recovered deep in Pittsburgh territory. The Patriots quickly scored to take a 17-6 lead, which amounted to a knockout blow given the state of Pittsburgh’s offense.

While Olszewski’s botched return was the more egregious mistake, it never would have happened had Sutton caught Jones’s errant throw. It’s hard to understand what Jones was thinking on the play. New England had a 2nd-and-9 from their own 43-yard line. The Patriots, who, like the Steelers, orchestrated a bland passing game that was heavy on underneath routes and throws outside the numbers, ran a simple high-low concept from a 2x2 formation. Pittsburgh rushed four, and though Jones didn’t have substantial pressure in his face (he could have simply slid to his left, stayed square and kept his eyes downfield), he chose to bail from the pocket. Fleeing to his left, Jones flung a ball from an awkward throwing platform to his slot receiver, who was blanketed by two Pittsburgh defenders. The throw was low, and Sutton fell to his knees to catch it. It hit his right arm, and for a second it looked like he had it. But then, as he leaned towards his right, the ball squirted out behind him:

From the angle below, we can see the play unfold more clearly. Jones appears to see his receiver break back to the sideline and tries to throw away from the coverage of linebacker Myles Jack (51). He never sees Sutton, though, who is squatting in the flat just outside the numbers. It’s hard to fathom how Sutton drops the throw — he sees it clearly, goes down to get it and appears to have it corralled — but he bobbles it as he tries to bring it towards his body and it winds up on the ground:

Football games are decided by plays that aren’t made as much as by those that are, and this was a wasted opportunity. Had Sutton made the catch, Pittsburgh would have been set up near midfield with the football and momentum. There’s no guarantee they would have capitalized, but as the ball squirted away from Sutton, I couldn’t help but think this was a play that would come back to haunt the Steelers.

Little did I know how soon the haunting would commence. Following an incompletion on 3rd down, New England sent out their punting unit. The play that followed started ominously for the Steelers. In the photo below, you can see that New England’s gunner to the top of the screen, Brendan Schooler, is uncovered. There is no one on him, not in the photo or anywhere else:

Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the field, the Steelers are double-teaming that gunner. What gives? Why put two players on one man and none on the other? If that scheme was by design, it’s a terrible one, for reasons that are obvious. It’s actually surprising the Patriots didn’t have a built-in “hot” call here where the punter could throw to Schooler, who, provided the throw was merely competent, would have had an easy 1st down.

It should come as a little solace to know this was not a designed scheme by Pittsburgh. The error was a product of a different sort of incompetence. Look again at the photo and count the black helmets. There are nine. Olszewski, the return man, is the only other Steeler on the field. Which means, incredibly, the Steelers had just 10 men for this play. The 11th man, who did not report for some reason, was supposed to cover Schooler. Had that 11th man covered Schooler, he would likely have inhibited him enough so that Schooler could not be standing in Olszewski’s face when the punt was muffed, and could not have fallen on it immediately when Olszewski coughed it up:

Watching Schooler run down the field with no interference looks absurd. Frankly, it’s embarrassing, the sort of mistake you expect in a middle school game, not an NFL contest. As of Monday morning, no one in the organization had come forward to say which Steeler failed to take the field. But from what I can tell, it was Levi Wallace. On each New England punt except for this one, Wallace, James Pierre and Terrell Edmunds were responsible for covering New England’s gunners. On this punt, Pierre and Edmunds can be seen doubling the gunner to the right of New England’s formation while Wallace is nowhere to be found. I don’t know if Wallace was temporarily unavailable due to injury and the coaching staff failed to replace him or if he simply didn’t report. Either way, it was a costly error that led to one of the most impactful plays of the game.

We cannot absolve Olszewski for fumbling the punt, either. He simply misjudged it and let it hit his facemask. It was an uncharacteristic mistake for a player who is as sure-handed and sound in the return game as Olszewski. Physical mistakes happen, but Olszewski has to do better here:

While the blame can be spread around on this play, the mistakes made here get people fired in the NFL. Again, Olszewski has to be better. But to allow Schooler to run down unhindered, crowd Olszewski as he attempted to field the punt and then fall on it once it hit the ground, is unacceptable. The Steelers didn’t lose on this play alone. But plays like these create losses, especially for teams like Pittsburgh whose margin for error is so slim.

The Steelers will lose a lot of games this season if they don’t find a way to fix their offense. Whether that means turning to Kenny Pickett at quarterback, getting more aggressive with Trubisky or conjuring some voodoo we haven’t seen yet is hard to say. One thing is certain, though: they aren’t good enough to give away games by squandering opportunities and hurting themselves with mental mistakes. The turning point in Sunday’s game against New England was a 20-second stretch in the 3rd quarter where they did just that.

5 players mentioned by Mike Tomlin during Monday’s press conference

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 09/20/2022 - 7:00am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

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

With the Steelers on a short week, we had a Mike Tomlin press conference on Monday. 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.

Mitch Trubisky

There were nine different questions asked of Coach Tomlin in regards in quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Coach Tomlin was asked if Trubisky needs to be more aggressive looking down field.

“I think he could, and we could.”

In a follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked how much freedom Trubisky has to scrap a play and take a shot with one-on-one coverage.

“There are probably one-on-one opportunities on the outsides of every play concept that we put in, so it would probably require no changes that you described. We’ve got long ball shots drawn up in a lot of things. Sometimes it’s just whether or not we get the appropriate look or if we like the matchup within the look.”

In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked about Trubisky’s comments after the game about buying into the plan and players not suggesting different plays in the huddle.

“I don’t know. I hadn’t talked to Mitch, so I don’t know what you’re referring to, but largely, that’s a good battle to fight usually. We’ve got playmakers, young playmakers, guys with a lot of talent, guys that want to be the reasons why we’re successful. So, I’d much rather say ’woah’ than ‘sick ‘em.’ I think that’s just a general attitude that we as competitors in a competitive football team in a competitive organization have. We’re not going to make a problem out of guys wanting to be the reason why we’re successful.”

In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked about if Trubisky is being too cautious since they had commended him for taking care of the ball through the preseason.

“I think when you lose and you don’t have enough points and you don’t produce enough splash, all of that is subject to debate. But that’s not a debate that we’re going to take part in. We’re just going to roll up our sleeves and get back to work with a better desired outcome for this next outing.”

In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked about quarterback mobility being something that was attractive about Trubisky and what more they can do to use that particular skill set.

“Whether it’s done by design or by ad lib, I just think it’s a component of play that’s valuable in today’s game, so that’s what I was referring to. I’m not going to come in and install the triple option if that’s what you’re referring to.”

In a follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked if he could use more of it with him.

“Sure.”

In another follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked about the ability for Trubisky to convert on third downs on passes over the middle and if there’s things the Steelers can do conceptually to give him better opportunities or if he has to see these things himself.

“Again, when you talk broadly like that, I need a specific instance. In some instances, I could agree with what you said. In some instances, I could disagree. The bottom line is we’ve got to make plays all over the field. They rolled the corners up; you’ve got to make plays in the middle of the field. They’re in single high; you’ve got to make plays on the perimeter. That’s just professional football.”

In another follow-up question, Coach Tomlin was asked if he is okay with Trubisky throwing short of the sticks on third down and if it was the right decision.

“Yes, there are certain circumstances that I am.”

Building off the previous question, Coach Tomlin was asked if that was appropriate during the fourth quarter on Sunday.

“There was one instance where they had a nice call, they had us in [Cover] 0 and by the concept that we had up, he didn’t have a lot of options. There was another instance that maybe he should have thrown the ball down the field. Like I mentioned, you could go round and round in circumstances such as this. We own our mistakes. We realize that we’ve got to get better. That’s just a broad, general answer for some of those pinpoint questions that you guys might have.”

In a later question, Coach Tomlin was asked what he has liked from Trubisky through the first two games.

“I’ve liked a lot from him to be quite honest with you. I think he’s done a good job of doing the things that come with the position. The intangible things, the leadership things, the communication things, detailing and communicating the offense, working hard to execute our agenda, the things that we want to work on. We haven’t scored enough points here the last couple of weeks, but that’s the collective, not just the quarterback position and not just the players. All of us are responsible for ringing up the scoreboard. So, we don’t seek comfort. We don’t try to quell the noise. To be quite honest with you, we don’t care about the noise. We’re just working on the things that are within our control to have good days and to continue the progression of this group from a developmental standpoint, knowing that the outcome is going to be what we desire if we keep doing those things.”

In the final question of the press conference, Coach Tomlin was asked how the young guys have responded to what Trubisky has been doing as a leader.

“It depends how things are going. Like a lot of young people, things are good when things are good, things are not when they aren’t. They’re going to keep growing and gaining experience and gaining the perspective that comes with experience.”

George Pickens

Steelers fans have been disappointed in the lack of usage of second-round draft pick George Pickens so far in the Steelers offense. Coach Tomlin was asked if there’s anything they can do more this early in the season to get a Pickens involved.

“We’ll keep working.”

Devin Bush

The only player who did not finish the game on Sunday that was mentioned in the post game press conference was linebacker Devin Bush. Coach Tomlin was asked if he had any further update on Bush‘s injury.

“I think he’s expected to practice tomorrow. But as always, you guys can let practice participation be your guide in terms of his availability.”

DeMarvin Leal

In only his second NFL game, rookie to DeMarvin Leal was used differently on defense in only his second NFL game due to the absence of T.J. Watt. Coach Tomlin was asked what he liked about Leal in the role of rushing from the end.

“He’s a young guy that’s growing. We’re finding ways to get him on the field. He’s taking advantage of the opportunities and making some plays in the meantime, and I just think it’s reasonable to expect all the above to continue. We’re going to find ways to get him on the field, he’s going to learn and he’s going to make more plays. He’s going to get better. That’s just a natural maturation process of a young guy that’s doing enough to get further opportunities.”

Kenny Pickett

With some questionable play at the quarterback position, the fans in Acresure stadium on Sunday were chanting for first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett. Coach Tomlin was asked if it was annoying to hear the fans calling for Pickett.

“I didn’t hear that, but I’ve got a lot going on.”

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 Thursday night’s game against the Browns. @PNCBank https://t.co/E5GeMi8MRi

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 19, 2022

Steelers Week 2 snap counts shows a baffling offensive plan

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 09/20/2022 - 6:00am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The offense was inexplicably predictable while the defense got creative.

The Steelers lost a close game in Week 2, but it didn’t feel as close as the final score, and the Patriots aren’t exactly a top team this year. It definitely feels like the Steelers won a crazy upset in Week 1, and then lost a game they should have won easily in Week 2. Let’s dig into the personnel that were a part of it.

Offense

The offensive line and quarterback played the entire game, usually a good thing, but a significant section of the fan base are not happy about Mitch Trubisky playing the entire game. The offense is struggling mightily, and the quarterback is the most important position, so it is understandable. But when we look at the personnel usage, one thing really stands out, and that is the Steelers continued their reliance on 11 personnel. The Steelers averaged 2.76 wide receivers per snap, 1.24 tight ends and fullbacks. That’s a pretty clear delineation. The Steelers ran 11 personnel roughly 3/4ths of the game.

In 2021 the Steelers were more effective out of 12 personnel (two tight ends one back) than they were with three wide receivers, but Ben Roethlisberger was far more comfortable with 11 personnel, so they ran that more. The Steelers, however, continue to use three wide receivers even though their third receiver, George Pickens, has only 26 yards on two catches through the first two games, which is less than the Steelers top two tight ends and Najee Harris.

You have to wonder about that usage after a preseason full of multiple tight end sets and a close game where the run game was working better but still only got 22 carries even with Jaylen Warren taking a decent chunk of the work load. Matt Canada’s offense is best playing off of the run game and attacking defenses out of play-action, and you would think that would favor multiple tight end sets, and the numbers from 2021 back that up. It’s strange to see the Steelers commit so heavily to three wide receivers in a close game, where that set wasn’t working, and with Pickens being targeted once every 16 snaps.

There are a lot of problems with the Steelers offense, so sticking with the same thing that didn’t work last season, and wasn’t working this week just seems nonsensical. Especially when “trying something different” would be going back to what has consistently worked better.

Defense

Cameron Sutton joined the 100% snap club and all three members from Week 1 returned. Levi Wallace showed he is the primary nickel back playing all but 9 snaps of the game, with Arthur Maulet playing 8 and Tre Norwood playing 6 snaps. That leads to an average of 5.07 defensive backs per snap, meaning the Steelers were in nickel almost the entire game.

Looking at the inside linebackers the Steelers played Myles Jack most of the game, with Devin Bush and Robert Spillane still splitting snaps behind him. The Steelers averaged 1.65 inside linebackers per snap.

Outside, with T.J. Watt out, the Steelers played a rare game where they didn’t average exactly 2 outside linebackers per snap. Alex Highsmith, Malik Reed, Delontae Scott and Jamir Jones combined to average 1.69 outside linebackers per snap, meaning 21 snaps were played with just 1 outside linebacker on the field.

That leads us to the defensive line. We know from the cornerback snaps that the Steelers had to have 5 defensive backs on the field for at least 59 of the 68 snaps (4 played 100% and Wallace played 59) and yet the Steelers averaged 2.59 defensive lineman per snap.

The Steelers defense used defensive lineman to help ease the loss of T.J. Watt, and to improve run defense in their nickel sets. It didn’t work out so well at the end of the game, but at least the defense looked outside the box to deal with their challenges.

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 09/20/2022 - 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 five 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:

BAD Language: Choose your own Steelers scapegoat

The Steelers are 1-1 on the new season, but many fans are treating it like 0-11 and rapidly pointing fingers in a few different directions. So, BTSC podcast producer Bryan Anthony Davis decided to make no apologies and share his black-and-gold brand of enlightenment. Join BAD preaching his own gospel of the hypocycloids on the new show, BAD Language.

  • News and Notes
  • Choose your own scapegoat
  • Prediction Accountability
  • and MUCH MORE!
The Mike Tomlin Weekly Press Conference Recap: Week 3 at Cleveland

After a subpar Week 2 of regular season football for the Steelers in a loss to the New England Patriots at Acrisure Stadium, the Steelers face a quick turnaround traveling to Cleveland for a Thursday Night Football battle with the Browns. 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.

Steelers Hangover: Changes are easier demanded than executed

The Steelers have not had stellar quarterback play, and with a first rounder waiting in the wings, fans are demanding a switch. That’s not as easily done as it is said. Join BTSC’s Bryan Anthony Davis, Tony Defeo and Shannon White for another Steelers Hangover in the 2022 season.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • The Quarterback Conundrum
  • and MUCH MORE!
From the Steelers’ Cutting Room Floor: How did the Steelers get here, and where are they even going?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are 1-1, but the offense is barely contributing. Is the problem personnel usage, deep passing, running the ball, or QB play? Geoffrey Benedict examines this and more on the latest episode of BTSC’s “From the Cutting Room Floor”.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Offensive woes
  • and MUCH MORE!

Geoffrey walks you through everything you need to know regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Scho Bro Show: Mishaps and missed opportunities led to the Steelers loss

In Week 2’s loss to the Patriots, the Steelers had opportunities to make big plays, but they didn’t, By not making ordinary plays, those missed opportunities turned into big plays for the Patriots. 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
  • Missed opportunities that lead to big plays for the opposition

Dave and Rich walk 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

Titans vs. Bills / Eagles vs. Vikings: MNF picks, odds and open thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/19/2022 - 6:15pm
Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Monday Night Football is here! Check out the latest odds, picks and more.

The 2022 NFL regular season is in full swing, and it’s the first Monday Night Football double header of the season. The two Monday night games in Week 2 has an early game featuring the Tennessee Titans vs. the Buffalo Bills, with the later game being the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles going head-to-head. When it comes to storylines, there are plenty surrounding this game.

As for the game itself, below you’ll see some vital information for you to enjoy the contest. You’ll get odds for the game, check out our staff picks for the game and to use this comment section as an open thread for the game.

Let’s take a closer look...

How to Watch:

Buffalo Bills vs. Tennessee Titans
Date: Monday, Sept. 19
Venue: Highmark Stadium
Time: 7:15 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN/ESPN2
Streaming: ESPN App, ESPN+

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Minnesota Vikings
Date: Monday, Sept. 19
Venue: Lincoln Financial Field
Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
TV: ABC
Streaming: ESPN+

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

BUF: -10
O/U: 47.5
Moneyline:
BUF: -425
TEN: +340

PHI: -2.5
O/U: 49
Moneyline:
PHI: -140
MIN: +120

Staff Picks:

These two games should be a lot of fun to watch, and ESPN going with the double header in this fashion should be interesting. It will hopefully be a highly contested games and fun to watch. Let us know your picks in the comment section below. On top of that, follow along with other Pittsburgh Steelers fans in the comment section below as the open thread.

In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold. And continue counting down the days until the Steelers play the Cleveland Browns in Week 3 of the regular season.

Steelers Injury Report: Devin Bush the only player listed on Monday

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/19/2022 - 3:06pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

There was only one player on the Steelers first injury report, an estimation of participation, for Week 3.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have very little time after their Week 2 defeat to recover as their next game is right around the corner on Thursday. Need to have three injury reports before the game, they will come on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The Steelers did not practice on Monday as it was the day following the game, the report is an estimate as to the participation of players. In the first injury report of the week courtesy of the Steelers PR department, the only player who was listed was Devin Bush.

Steelers PR Department

Devin Bush left the Steelers game on Sunday in the fourth quarter with a foot injury and did not return. During head coach Mike Tomlin‘s press conference on Monday, he stated he believed Bush would be ready for practice Tuesday.

“I think he’s expected to practice tomorrow,” Coach Tomlin said in regards to Bush. “But as always, you guys can let practice participation be your guide in terms of his availability.”

Not knowing what his exact participation would be, Bush was listed as a limited participant for Monday due to his foot injury. With it being just an estimation, how things progress during the short week will ultimately determine Bush’s availability for Thursday.

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

Steelers and Browns injury lists look vastly different heading into TNF

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/19/2022 - 1:40pm
Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns gear up for a prime time matchup in Week 3, and their injury lists look pretty different.

If there is a positive about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ deflating 17-14 loss to the New England Patriots in Week 2, it is the fact they won’t have much time to dwell on the loss. With the Cleveland Browns on deck in Week 3 on Thursday Night Football, the preparation for the Steelers’ second AFC North game of the season has already begun. With that, Mike Tomlin met with media Monday, instead of his usual Tuesday press conference, to outline what he thought of the upcoming matchup.

Whenever teams are preparing on a short week for the weekly Thursday night game, injuries become even more important. The fact is, if a player is banged up, it is unlikely they play on such a short week.

For Pittsburgh, this doesn’t seem to be a huge concern considering the only notable injury during the game Sunday vs. New England was a foot injury to inside linebacker Devin Bush. Monday during Tomlin’s press conference the Steelers head coach said Bush is expected to practice Tuesday, which is the team’s first, and only, practice heading into Cleveland.

This per Dale Lolley of Steelers.com:

Tomlin said Devin Bush (foot) is expected to practice Tuesday. That will be the Steelers' only practice day before playing Thursday in Cleveland.

— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) September 19, 2022

As for the Browns, their injury situation is much more dire heading into the first Steelers grudge match of the 2022 season. When Kevin Stefanski met with media Monday, he already ruled out the following players:

DE Jadeveon Clowney (ankle)
DE Chase Winovich (hamstring)
TE Jesse James

This per Adam Schefter of ESPN:

Browns’ HC Kevin Stefanski already has ruled out DE Jadeveon Clowney (ankle), DE Chase Winovich (hamstring) and TE Jesse James for Thursday night’s game vs. the Steelers.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 19, 2022

The first estimated injury report will be released Monday for both teams, so be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they try to get the bad taste of Week 2 out of their mouths with a win over the Browns in Cleveland.

For more on the Mike Tomlin press conference, check out the BTSC Press Conference Recap podcast in the player below:

Patriots made the key plays in win, while the Steelers made none

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/19/2022 - 12:30pm
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Sunday’s home opener between the Steelers and Patriots at Acrisure Stadium came down to a few key plays, all made by the visitors in 17-14 loss for the home team.

What is a key play in the National Football League? Is it one that occurs at a certain point in a game? Is it a play that happens at any point in a game?

Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick had an interception in the first half of Sunday’s regular-season home opener against the Patriots at Acrisure Stadium. Fitzpatrick’s play nullified an interception thrown by quarterback Mitch Trubisky a few plays earlier, with New England leading, 3-0.

It was a nice play, Fitzpatrick’s pick, but it simply led to a field goal by Chris Boswell to tie the game.

Late in the second quarter, with the game still knotted at three, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones threw up a 50-50 ball down the right sideline to receiver Nelson Agholor, who was being covered quite well by cornerback Akhello Witherspoon. But instead of jumping up and trying to play the ball at its highest point, Witherspoon put his arms out as if to try and make an over-the-shoulder interception. Not a bad idea, usually, but it’s all about who wants it more when it comes to those 50-50 balls. Agholor did jump up to play the ball at its highest level by reaching over Witherspoon to pull in the catch and take it into the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown with just 22 seconds remaining before halftime.

Ouch.

In a game where the Steelers offense again was putrid—it tallied just barely over 100 yards in the first half—that felt like two touchdowns.

The Steelers had to play catch-up the rest of the game, a tall order for an offense that continued to lack drive, explosiveness, imagination and, most importantly, productivity.

It was even a tall order for a defense that was missing T.J. Watt. Sure, the defense played a good game, but it spent the entire afternoon looking like a shell of its former self, failing to sack Jones one time and barely getting any pressure on him all afternoon long.

But, much like the 50-50 ball with Agholor and Witherspoon late in the first half, there was a key play to be made in the second.

New England faced a second and nine from its own 43 late in the third quarter.

A stop would have been nice, but how about a turnover? The Steelers appeared to have that right in their grasp when Jones scrambled to his left and let loose with a pass that hit cornerback Cam Sutton right in the breadbasket. An interception there would have given Pittsburgh possession at midfield or, heck, a 13-10 lead if Sutton, who was all alone and down on one knee when Jones’s pass came his way, had been able to get up and take it to the house.

Sutton, being a cornerback and all, failed to secure the interception.

Sutton and the rest of the defense did stop the Patriots one play later to force a punt. Unfortunately, that punt bounced off of the facemask of return man Gunner Olszewski, landed on the turf of Acrisure Stadium, and Brenden Schooler pounced on it to give the Patriots the ball at the Pittsburgh 10 with a little help from Cam Heyward and an unnecessary roughness penalty.

Running back Damien Harris ultimately scored a touchdown from two yards away to give the Patriots a 17-6 advantage.

I guess you can say the Steelers made some semi-key plays to get back into the game by immediately driving 75 yards on nine plays and cutting the deficit to three on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Trubisky to tight end Pat Freiermuth, as well as a pretty two-point conversion from Trubisky to receiver Diontae Johnson.

This was very early in the fourth quarter, and another key play or two could have made the difference down the stretch.

They never came.

The defense did force the Patriots to punt on back-to-back series, but the offense failed to sniff a sustained drive, going three and out twice.

The Patriots offense had a few more key plays left in its bag and used them to run out the final 6:33 of game clock against a tired and compromised Steelers defense.

Final score: 17-14, visitors.

The offense was again ineffective.

The defense played well but not well enough without Watt.

It all came down to a few key plays, none of which were made by the home team.

Betting Preview: Steelers currently 3.5-point underdogs at the Browns

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/19/2022 - 10:30am
Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

The Steelers hit the road on a short week for their second AFC North matchup of 2022.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have no time to wallow in the misery of their 17-14 defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots as they have a short week due to facing the Browns in Cleveland this Thursday night. When it comes to the betting lines for Thursday’s game, the following information is the current consensus spread and over/under for the Steelers this week as reported by DraftKings Sportsbook.

Game Info: Week 3 Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022 at 8:15 PM

Betting line: +3.5

Over/under: 40.5

Last Regular Season Meeting: Steelers (W) 26-14 vs Browns

Win streak: 2 games PIT

Last 3 Meetings: PIT 2 - 1 CLE

Last 10 Meetings: PIT 6 - 3 - 1 CLE

There was no opening line on the game after the schedule was announced in May due to uncertainty around the Deshaun Watson situation.

Being the underdog on Thursday, the Steelers have a current moneyline of +150 to win the game straight up, which is the equivalent of 3/2 odds. So a $20 bet placed on the Steelers over the Browns would have a payout of $50 ($30 plus the original $20 bet). The Browns have a current moneyline of -175, or 4/7 odds. Therefore the same $20 bet placed on Cleveland to win straight up would have a payout of $31.43 ($11.43 plus the original $20 bet).

The Steelers are 5-1 against the spread in their last 6 games against AFC North opponents and are 5-1 against the spread in their last 6 games against Cleveland. The Steelers also have gone UNDER in 4 of their last 5 games and have gone UNDER in 7 of their last 9 games in Cleveland.

If looking at the futures bets at DraftKings.com, the Steelers odds to win the Super Bowl are at 80/1 after Week 2. The Steelers odds to win the AFC Championship are 40/1 odds. As for winning the AFC North, the Steelers are currently at 8/1 odds behind the Browns at 7/2 odds, the Bengals at 3/1, and the Ravens as the favorite at 20/21 odds.

4 Winners and 7 Losers after the Steelers’ 17-14 loss to the Patriots

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/19/2022 - 9:30am
Photo by Joe Sargent/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 Sunday when they played the New England Patriots in Week 2 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

Diontae Johnson
Stat Line: 6 catches, 57 yards, 9.5 average, 0 TD, 17-yard long, 10 targets, 2-pt conversion

On a day where there weren’t a lot of winners on the offensive side of the ball, Diontae Johnson was a bright spot. After earning his contract extension, Johnson has proven he is every bit of the route runner and overall threat many questioned when he got his new deal. Johnson’s frustrations, especially in the 4th quarter, were very telling, and he has proven he is a bright spot on the offense through two games.

Pat Freiermuth
Stat Line: 4 catches, 22 yards, 5.5 average, 1 TD, 8-yard long, 7 targets

Entering year two, many were wondering if Freiermuth would be able to take that next step and be the threat many thought he would/could be. It’s only been two games, but there have been flashes of Freiermuth not just being a great pass catching option, but also a very improved blocker. Freiermuth too was showing frustration with the offense, but Freiermuth certainly has been a bright spot, and was again on Sunday in Week 2.

Najee Harris
Stat Line: 15 carries, 49 yards, 3.3 average, 0 TD, 8-yard long / 5 catches, 40 yards, 8.0 yard average, 0 TD, 14-yard long, 6 targets

I can’t say I blame Najee Harris for being rusty. After all, he hurt his foot in the first padded practice of training camp, and played sparingly in the preseason finale. He looked rusty before leaving with injury in Week 1, and it was nice to see him start to look like the player fans grew to love in 2021. He still isn’t a finished product, but neither is the offense. Harris knocked off some rust Sunday, and it was good to see.

Minkah Fitzpatrick
Stat Line: 6 tackles, 2 solo, 1 pass defense, 1 INT

Like fellow defenders T.J. Watt and Cam Heyward, Minkah Fitzpatrick could be on the winners list practically every week. Fitzpatrick again made his presence felt with a key interception of Mac Jones in the first half of the game. He now has interceptions in the first two games of the season, and has proven to be the do-it-all type of playmaker the team sent a first round pick in 2019 to Miami for. He continues to develop as one of the best safeties in the game.

Losers

Mitch Trubisky
Stat Line: 21/33, 168 yards, 5.1 average, 1 TD, 1 INT, 3 sacks for 16-yards, 73.8 rating

I understand this offense isn’t a finished product, and there are issues across the board. However, watching Trubisky run the offense is downright painful at times. Whether it’s him not throwing the ball away, staring down receivers or the constant throws off his back foot, it just isn’t good enough. I’m not expecting perfection, but I’m expecting more than what I’ve seen through two games. If Trubisky wants to silence the “Kenny” chants, he can only do it one way — play better.

Gunner Olszewski
Stat Line: 1 rush, 18 yards, 1 fumble

When you are primarily a return man, whether kickoff or punt, you have one primary job — don’t fumble the football. Olszewski’s fumble was at a critical point in the game, during a bad sequence, and set up the Patriots’ second touchdown by giving them the ball inside the red-zone. Yes, he had a nice jet sweep run, but it doesn’t come close to negating the negative play.

Cam Sutton
Stat Line: 3 tackles, 3 solo, 1 pass defense

Referring to the aforementioned sequence, the Patriots’ drive before the punt to Olszewski, facing a 3rd and 7, Jones threw a pass which hit Sutton in between the 2-and-0 on his jersey. And he dropped it. It was as simple a play as it can get, and at the time fans thought, “Well, at least they have to punt.” Then the fumble happened. If Sutton hauls in the interception, the entire game changes, and in the Steelers’ favor. You have to make plays when they present themselves.

Ahkello Witherspoon
Stat Line: 2 tackles, 2 solo, 0 pass defenses

The reason Witherspoon finds himself on the loser list is due to the misplayed pass which instead of being a pass breakup, turned into a touchdown for the Patriots. The Agholor touchdown didn’t feel like just a first half touchdown. It felt worse. Part of it was it was in the waning minutes of the first half, and the Patriots offense received the ball to start the second half, but the other part was just how bad the offense was playing. Even a touchdown deficit felt overwhelming at times. Those gaffes with this offense feel insurmountable.

Pass Rush
Stat Line: 0 sacks

Coming off a 7 sack game, one where T.J. Watt only had one of those 7 sacks vs. the Cincinnati Bengals, you thought the defense would have no problem getting after the less-than-mobile Mac Jones. They were only able to muster 3 QB Hits, and no sacks. The defense was only missing Watt, and everyone else was unable to get to Jones. And this made a big difference in the outcome of the game.

Lack of timely plays
Stat Line: Not winning in the “splash” department

Mike Tomlin often talks about “splash” being necessary to win games. This can come on defense with turnovers and sacks. Offensively it’s big plays down field and scoring touchdowns, not field goals. The Steelers didn’t do well enough in this category, on both sides of the ball. Fitzpatrick’s interception was the lone splash play on defense, and the offense rarely was able to move the ball more than 5-10 yards at a time. This has to change if the Steelers want to be considered a contender, and not a pretender.

“Key Area” Offense
Stat Line: 8-for-15 3rd Down / 1-2 Red-Zone

The Steelers absolutely were above .500 on 3rd down offense, so many who read this article every week were probably wondering why they weren’t on the winners list. The problem was the 4th quarter when they weren’t able to convert on key third downs, equating in an extremely slanted time of possession stat in the second half. Throw in the Steelers red-zone stats being the same, 1-for-2, in the second straight week, and it just isn’t good enough.

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 loss to the Patriots

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/19/2022 - 8:30am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

New England came out on top in Pittsburgh, who is to blame?

The Steelers lost a close game to fall to 1-1, but with losses all around the division they remain in first place in the AFC North (they have the only division win). But that isn’t going to earn any Steelers extra points on their grades this week. So let’s dig in and see who gets a pass and who gets the blame.

Offense

The offense scored more points in Week 2 than in Week 1, but their output is still well under the bar. The Steelers offense has scored one touchdown in each of their first two games, and that is not enough to compete in the current NFL.

The run game improved in Week 2 with both Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren averaging over 3 yards a carry and the team a bit over 4 yards per carry, but 91 total rushing yards isn’t anything to be proud of, it’s just better than last week.

The worst of the news comes in the passing game, where the Steelers downfield passing is terrible. Against the Patriots the Steelers threw 6 deep passes, which is roughly average for an NFL team, completing 2 of them for 40 yards and an interception. That’s terrible. But it follows the numbers from Week 1 when the Steelers threw 9 deep passes, completing 3 for 82 yards. Overall the Steelers 8.13 yards per attempt and 35.97 passer rating on deep throws is terrible (it would have ranked 2nd worst in the NFL in 2021).

When you don’t have to respect a team’s ability to throw downfield or run the ball, it is very easy to defend that team. Understanding that the 22.7% scoring rate and 1.36 points per drive really make sense.

The Steelers offense is terrible. If you compare the Steelers deep passing and scoring to the 2021 NFL, they would be bottom 2 in every category. The Steelers offense is playing like a bottom feeder.

Honor Roll: Najee Harris, Derek Watt picking up a first down.

Demerits: Mitchell Trubisky, James Daniels, Matt Canada.

Final Grade: F Defense

The Steelers defense needed to play an incredible game just to give the Steelers any chance of winning this game. They nearly pulled it off. Losing T.J. Watt is a critical blow to this defense and they still held the Patriots to 17 points on 10 drives. When you consider 7 of those points came off a 10-yard drive following a fumbled punt, the Steelers defense was very good, even without Watt.

Of course it wasn’t enough to drag the rest of the team to a victory, and the Steelers remain winless when Watt misses more than half the game since the start of the 2021 season, now 0-5-1 when Watt is hurt. Watt is irreplaceable, and everyone on the team has to step up to help cover that loss, not just on defense either, everyone on the team.

This game is a hard one to grade, because the Steelers allowed a 100-yard receiver and almost allowed two, the run game struggled late in the game and the defense didn’t generate a single sack and only one tackle for a loss. But, on the other hand, they did a great job denying the Patriots points and a reasonably competent offense would have given the Steelers a win. In the end, sacks and yards matter far less than points, and 17 points isn’t bad. Without the fumbled punt the Steelers likely win this game in spite of the terrible offense.

Honor Roll: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Myles Jack, Alex Highsmith, Terrell Edmunds.

Demerits: Pass defense in the middle of the field, non-blitz pass rush, late-game run defense.

Final Grade: B Special Teams

The Steelers punt team again excelled, with Pressley Harvin III punting 4 times for over 200 yards. Their 46 net yards per punt is very good, and the punt team came close to scoring a touchdown that likely would have flipped the result of this game. On the other hand, the punt return team fumbled a punt on a play that looks like they only fielded 10 men. Chris Boswell made 36 and 52-yard field goals with no misses. It’s hard to give the unit a decent grade with the fumble playing such a huge role in the loss, even though most of the game was good.

Honor Roll: James Pierre, Chris Boswell, Percy Harvin III

Demerits: Gunner Olszewski’s second straight game with a muffed punt.

Final Grade: D Overall

The offense was terrible, and special teams contributed one of the worst plays of the game. The defense played a really good game even without T.J. Watt, but it wasn’t enough to win, and the Steelers come away with a loss in a game that they really should have won. The Steelers had many chances to win this game and couldn’t make plays. That’s unacceptable.

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 2 loss to the Patriots, by the numbers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/19/2022 - 7:30am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Steelers surrendered less points than last week, but couldn’t muster enough offense to pull out a victory.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 season is underway and the Steelers fell short in their home opener. Even though the entire AFC North fell in defeat in Week 2, it is not much of a consolation prize as the Steelers had an opportunity to move to 2-0 come up short.

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

-1

It will continue to be a huge number for this team as it is one of the biggest factors in most NFL games. The Steelers came out on the wrong end of the turnover margin against the Patriots as they coughed up the ball up twice with a Mitch Trubisky interception and a Gunner Olszewski muffed punt. The Steelers did get one turnover back with Minkah Fitzpatrick pulling in his second interception of the season.

44

With 0:30 remaining in the first half, the New England Patriots were faced with a third and three at the Steelers 44-yard line. With a chance to force a punt or maybe even get the opportunity for a fourth down stop, the Steelers instead surrendered a 44-yard touchdown to Nelson Agholor. What was even more frustrating was Ahkello Witherspoon was in position for the interception but waited for the ball to come to him and Agholor snatched it out of the air and scampered into the end zone. It turned what would have otherwise been a tie game at the half into a 10–3 Patriots lead.

47

With just over four minutes left in the third quarter, the Steelers forced a punt by the New England Patriots from their own 43 yard line. Unfortunately, Gunner Olszewski could not come up with the punt even after a fair catch and the Patriots recovered the muff at the 20 yard line. With an unnecessary roughness penalty also called on Cam Heyward, the Patriots took over at the Steelers 10-yard line. On one play in which the Steelers should have regained possession, they ended up surrendering 47 yards of field position.

53%

For the game, both teams finished with a 53% third down efficiency. The Patriots finished 9 of 17 for the game while the Steelers were 8 of 15 on third down. Unfortunately, it was the final two third downs that the Steelers did not convert on their two possessions in the fourth quarter which made a huge difference in the game.

4.1

Despite the loss, the Steelers had an increase in production in running the football in Week 2. The Steelers averaged 4.1 yards per carry on the day as they got 91 yards on 22 rushing attempts. When it comes specifically to the running backs, the Steelers rushers averaged 3.4 yards per game which was over a yard more than they did in Week 1.

4.0

Despite surrendering 124 rushing yards in the game, the Steelers actually had a better rushing average than the Patriots. New England officially had 31 carries for 124 yards which resulted in a 4.0 yards per carry average. But it should also be noted that the Patriots lost 9 yards on their final three rushing attempts due to quarterback kneel downs. Were it not for those three plays the Patriots would have had an average 4.75 yards per carry.

2:41

After scoring a touchdown and subsequent two-point conversion on the first play the fourth quarter, the Steelers did next to nothing on offense for the remainder of the game. Their other two drives were both three and outs and they gained 4 yards and 8 yards respectively. This put the Steelers defense in quite a bad position as the offense only had 2:41 time of possession for the quarter. Up until the fourth quarter, the Steelers were leading the time of possession but ultimately ended up losing by more than seven minutes.

7:07

The Steelers had their longest drive of the season from a time stndpoint which began in the first quarter and ended in the second quarter following the Minkah Fitzpatrick interception. Despite only moving the ball 48 yards and settling for Chris Boswell field goal, the Steelers possessed the ball for 7:07 which was their longest possession of the season by more than two minutes.

4

While there is an awful lot to learn about this game in regards to the Pittsburgh Steelers, they don’t have a lot of time to dive into things. The Pittsburgh Steelers only have four days between games as they must travel to Cleveland to face the Browns on Thursday night.

0

Although this number could easily be based on the number of sacks the Steelers got in the game, it’s actually about the most important start of the game. The Steelers do not get to add a number into their win column this week, so the increase in their win total is zero.

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.

Mitch Trubisky’s post-game comments calls Matt Canada into question

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/19/2022 - 6:30am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Mitch Trubisky didn’t hold back when asked why the offense wasn’t attacking the middle of the field.

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost in Week 2 to the New England Patriots 17-14, and the biggest question surrounding the loss wasn’t the defense, but the offense. Mitch Trubisky struggled in the game, and the offense failed to attack the middle of the field and press the ball downfield.

This is nothing new to the Steelers and their fans, but the question is whether the issues with the flat, and bland, offense is due to limited quarterback play, or the offensive coordinator.

Matt Canada has drawn his share of ire from the fan base since taking over the reigns of the offense in 2021, but how much of the offensive issues in 2022 are on Canada or Trubisky? Following the Patriots game Trubisky was at the podium to answers questions.

You’ll never guess what the first question was...I include the exact question and quote below for context.

What needs to happen with more down the field passing and over the middle passing with this offense?

“Call concepts to get receivers there. When the coverage dictates that, get them the ball within that.

“I saw a lot of post high, backers sitting in the middle, safety in the middle of the field. We like our outside matchups. We’ve got really good receivers. We’ve got really good talent across the board. We’d like to attack all areas of the field and get the ball to our playmakers. So, we could do a little bit better at everything for sure.”

Go ahead an re-read that quote again. Trubisky doesn’t hold back when talking about concepts called, etc. I don’t blame him. This could be Trubisky’s last shot at being a starter in the league, and the amount of heat he is feeling with Kenny Pickett waiting in the wings would force most into deferring some of the blame.

Let’s continue with Trubisky’s response...

Did you see a lot of single high today?

“Yes.”

Follow-up: What are your options when you see that?

“If it’s man, best matchups. If it’s zone, find the holes. That comes down to timing and being in the right place at the right time. They did a good job mixing it up. They don’t only play one high. They play a bunch of coverages.

“We can be better at everything. I can be better at decision-making. We had some missed opportunities. I had some missed throws. We had a couple where we weren’t on the same page. Bottom line, we’ve got to score more points. So, our emphasis was to be better on third down this week. I think we were a little better at that, in the first half at least. In the fourth quarter, we’ve got to convert those to be able to stay on the field and give ourselves a chance. It just felt like missed opportunities by me and the offense. There’s a lot we can get better at. So, we’ve got to look at that and flush it really quick because we’ve got another game on Thursday. It’s going to come around fast. We’ve got to move on to the next one and make sure we’re getting better.”

Move on to the next one might be an understatement. When Mike Tomlin speaks to the media Monday, a day early with the Thursday night game in Week 3, he will be peppered with questions about the coordinator and the quarterback. Needless to say, the answers fans seek isn’t found in a sound byte or a press conference.

It’s on the field.

Trubisky will have a quick turnaround, and if he plays well it could be just what the doctor orders for his NFL future. However, put out another dud, and the Steelers might be looking at an extended break to get their rookie quarterback ready to take over.

Let us know what you think of these comments 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 Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football in Week 3.

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

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/19/2022 - 6:00am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field in Week 2 of the regular season. Take a look and listen to what was said after the game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were losers for the first time this regular season with their loss to the New England Patriots Sunday.

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 3 game vs. the Cleveland Browns in Ohio, but first, the post-game sound:

Mike Tomlin Post-Game Press Conference

Coach Tomlin addresses the media following our game against the Patriots. pic.twitter.com/Qs7ARkqJeE

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 18, 2022

Mitch Trubisky Post-Game Press Conference

QB Mitch Trubisky addresses the media following our game against the Patriots. pic.twitter.com/IxgAQHnRqW

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 18, 2022

Around the Locker Room

Hear from Pat Freiermuth, Cam Heyward, Diontae Johnson, and more following our Week 2 game against the Patriots. @SIRIUSXM pic.twitter.com/qZWwNy0ORz

— Steelers Live (@SteelersLive) September 18, 2022

The Steelers offense closed the game with a pair of 3 and outs, and Diontae Johnson expressed frustration on the field after one of them pic.twitter.com/PRI3Mk8pEY

— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) September 18, 2022

Ahkello Witherspoon on the long TD he allowed pic.twitter.com/iHGAerLpBz

— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) September 18, 2022

Najee Harris on the struggles of the offense pic.twitter.com/I0NdMVUDTB

— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) September 18, 2022

Minkah Fitzpatrick pic.twitter.com/hWINeg8QUv

— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) September 18, 2022

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/19/2022 - 4:30am

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

Here at BTSC, and our podcast platform, we are here with you every step of the way. In the past we have given you the podcasts in individual articles on the website but have 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 written, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each show:

The BTSC Steelers Mike Tomlin Post-Game Presser Recap

The Steelers opened their 2022 slate at home, and lost to the Patriots 17-14 in an uninspired effort. Of course, Mike Tomlin had a lot to say to the media afterwards. Join BTSC podcast producer Bryan Anthony Davis as he recaps the post-game presser.

The BTSC Steelers Post-Game Show: The BTSC Steelers Post-Game Show: Flat Offense, Tired Defense equals loss to Patriots

After a thrilling victory in Week 1, the Steelers were flat on offense and a tired defense couldn’t get off of the field late in the fourth quarter as the Steelers fall to New England. Jeff Hartman, Dave Schofield and Bryan Anthony Davis break down the game like no one else does on the latest edition of The Steelers Post-Game Show.

Let’s Ride, Monday: Winners and Losers after the Steelers Week 2 loss to New England

The Pittsburgh Steelers were on the wrong end of a 17-14 final in Week 2 of the NFL and there was good, bad, ugly, and unfortunate. 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
  • Steelers Winners and Losers from the home opener in the Iron City
  • 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

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

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/18/2022 - 8:26pm
David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers came up short in their home opener on Sunday. What was the biggest moment that led to the defeat?

The Pittsburgh Steelers started off the 2022 season with a persevering overtime victory in Week 1 only to return home and fall to the Patriots in Week 2. After being an underdog at home to a team that was 0-1, it seems that the line was ultimately pretty close as the Steelers came up three points short.

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.

Since there is no previous loss to go on, we can’t highlight the last game-changing moment just yet. But in weeks to come, that will be done here as well.

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:

The 44-yard touchdown

With time winding down in the first half, the Patriots were facing a third down and three from the Steelers 44-yard line. If the Steelers were able to dig in and not give up the first down, it would either bring about a fourth down attempt or a punt. Instead, Mac Jones threw a ball down the right sideline to Nelson Agholor which appeared to be set for the arms of Steelers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon. But rather than go up and get the ball, Witherspoon waited for the ball to drop into his arms as Agholor went up high and pulled the ball away and continued into the end zone. The play gave the Patriots a 10–3 lead going into halftime.

The dropped interception

On the Patriots second possession of the second half, they were nearing the midfield when Mac Jones threw a pass where the only player around was Steelers cornerback Cam Sutton. Having the ball come to him while he was on his knees, Sutton could not corral the easy interception which would have given the Steelers great field position and an advantage in the turnover category.

The muffed punt

Just after the missed interception, the Patriots were punting from their own 43-yard line. On a play that appears to only have 10 players on the field for the Steelers as one of the gunners for the Patriots have 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.

The last two drives being 3 & out

On the first play the fourth quarter, the Steelers scored a touchdown to Pat Freiermuth and a two-point conversion to Diontae Johnson to cut the game to three points. After stopping the Patriots once they moved the ball across midfield, the Steelers received the ball at their own 10-yard line. Gaining only 4 yards on three plays they were forced to punt. Even after the Patriots were held to their own three and out as they started at midfield, the Steelers once again got the ball on a touch back at their own 20-yard line. But with three plays only gaining 8 yards, the Steelers once again punted in what would be their final offensive possession of the game.

Giving up 4 first downs to end the game

After receiving the ball with just over 6:30 remaining in the game, the Patriots were able to overcome an offensive holding penalty and gain a first down to keep the drive alive. In all, the Patriots ended up converting four first downs to kill the clock and end the game in victory formation.

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.

Bears at Packers Week 2: Sunday Night Football Open Thread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/18/2022 - 7:10pm
Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

After party edition.

Bears (1-0) at Packers (0-1)

Next up: Texans at Bears

Next up: Packers at Buccaneers

This one shouldn’t be pretty, but who knows after last weekend’s results.

It appears that the condition at Soldier Field was reminiscent of the hurricane game when the Steelers played in Miami, or the after hurricane game the Steelers played against Miami. Somehow, Miami wasn’t in last weekend’s game in Chicago.

The Packers played backups at both tackle spots and lost a guard during the game. I suspect that won’t be helpful against the generally good defense of Chicago. Rodgers might wish he could pay some WR out of his own pocket if someone doesn’t step up. I suspect the chicken, or egg, of this story, is the offensive line, but we’ll see.

Join your fellow Steelers fans for the late night comment thread.

Steelers in-game injuries are minimal as team prepares for the Browns on a short week

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 09/18/2022 - 3:35pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers were unable to beat the New England Patriots in Week 2, and it wasn’t because of injuries.

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost their first game of the 2022 regular season when the New England Patriots came into Acrisure Stadium and won 17-14 in Week 2. On top of that, the Steelers now have a quick turnaround in Week 3 when they have to travel to play the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football.

When talking about a Thursday night game, injuries are always a key component of playing and preparing on a short week. Following the loss, Mike Tomlin outlined some injured players heading into the AFC North rivalry game in Week 3.

The only injury noted by Tomlin in the post-game press conference was to inside linebacker Devin Bush. According to Tomlin, Bush left the game with a foot injury and will have it evaluated.

Heading into Week 2, there were several players who were dealing with other injuries, and it seems as though they left the Week 2 game with no re-injury. These would include players like Levi Wallace (ankle), running back Najee Harris (foot) and center Mason Cole (ankle).

While injuries were a main talking point following the Steelers’ Week 1 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, it certainly wasn’t a reason for the Steelers’ loss on Sunday at home. Moving forward the Steelers will have to not only stay healthy, but show they have an offense which is capable of moving the ball and making enough plays to win a game.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Browns this Thursday night in Cleveland, OH.

Pages

Subscribe to Steelers Fans of Minnesota aggregator