Despite Najee Harris and Chase Claypool having impressive receiving games, the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers offense didn’t perform well on Sunday. The Steelers struggles continue as they fell to the Bengals, 24-10, at home. Joe Burrow threw for three touchdowns, including two to rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.
Pittsburgh Steelers Offense Struggles Continue in Loss to Cincinnati Bengals
Both the Steelers and the Bengals entered Sunday with a 1-1 record, with each team playing their first divisional game of the season. The Bengals left Heinz Field with a 24-10 victory over Pittsburgh and is now 2-1 on the year. Despite a poor offensive showing, the Bengals took care of the Steelers with just 268 total yards of offense. Burrow threw for only 172 yards but did throw for three scores. “Big Ben” Roethlisberger threw for 318 yards and one touchdown, but that came with two interceptions.
With just under three minutes left in the first quarter, Cincinnati receiver Tyler Boyd caught a 17-yard score from Burrow, making the score 7-0. With nine minutes left in the second quarter, the Steelers started an eight minute touchdown drive. It was capped off by a four-yard touchdown from tight end Pat Freiermuth, his first of his pro career. Shortly after, Burrow threw a 34-yard pass to Ja’Marr Chase to put the Bengals up 14-7 at half. The Bengals started the second half with a 43-yard field goal and a nine-yard touchdown for Chase (again). Cincinnati went up 24-7, and the only score after was a Chris Boswell 26-yard field goal that made the final score, 24-10.
Steelers Struggle With Protection, Run Game
Once again, Pittsburgh’s offensive line failed to open any holes for first-year running back Najee Harris. He had just 40 yards on fourteen carries, including a long of twenty yards. Without the long, thirteen carries for twenty yards is all Harris got. Along with giving up four sacks, the Steelers offensive line couldn’t create any time or holes for the skill positions. However, the passing game was a little better for a few players.
Short Pass Success
Despite Harris’s slow day on the ground, he had an exceptional receiving day. Harris had 102 yards on fourteen catches, while second-year receiver Chase Claypool had nine catches for 95 yards. The Steelers spread the ball around, with eight players recording two or more receptions on the day. With Big Ben’s pectoral injury, it was expected that the short-pass game would be used extensively; Roethlisberger had 58 pass attempts while completing 38 of them.
Steelers Defensive Streak Ends
The Steelers defense, coined “The Steel Curtain,” had recorded a sack in 75 straight games heading into Sunday. With Pittsburgh not sacking Joe Burrow on Sunday, their 75-game streak was snapped. A number of reasons could have attributed to this. Most importantly, the team leader in sacks, T.J. Watt, missed Week 3’s matchup with a groin injury. With Watt’s presence this week, a sack would have been more likely to occur. There is still little news coming from T.J. Watt’s and Diontae Johnson’s injury situations that kept them sidelined this week. These two stars were coming off of impressive starts but suffered injuries in last week’s game against Las Vegas. Both could come back next week, as their sustained injuries weren’t severe enough to have them placed on the IR. But, once again, there is little development in their timeline.
What’s Next for Pittsburgh
After falling to 1-2 on the season, many Steelers fans are becoming more and more hopeless and helpless every week. With a schedule only getting tougher, the Steelers are going to have to step up if even want to have a chance at the playoffs this season. In the coming weeks, if the Steelers can improve their offensive line play, their offensive success could increase. Their defense is playing well, and even with them missing several key players, they still held the Bengals offense to under 300 yards of total offense. With a tough matchup at Green Bay next Sunday at 4:25pm, the Steelers will try and bounce back against a good Packers team. Maybe they can have some varied and potentially constant success next week as they look to get back to .500.
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