The Steelers won by four last week in a game we predicted them to cover. The crazy part is, the Steelers almost lost on the final drive, despite a tremendous defensive performance. It seemed like, in the stats column, a game the Steelers should’ve won relatively easily. The reality of the situation was the Steelers may not be as complete as we think they are.
The Steelers forced three turnovers and sacked Lamar Jackson four times. They also had a defensive touchdown. The Ravens had just two sacks and forced only one turnover. Typically, this would indicate a fairly comfortable win for the Steelers, but this game was anything but typical.
Overall, Lamar Jackson looked bad, and the Ravens defense didn’t appear to do a whole lot. That’s football, though. Sometimes, a team can look substantially better throughout the game, have the breaks go their way, and still manage to barely win.
Ben was pretty good, but it’s not as if the Steelers were taking the top off the Ravens defense or anything. Roethlisberger’s average completions went for only 5.7 yards and the Steelers only averaged 3 yards rushing on 16 carries. This explains a lot about how the game was so close.
The Steelers offense we hailed as being so balanced, was actually somewhat ineffective. Regardless of how the game transpired, the Steeler’s defense showed up again when it mattered most. What’s going to be the most interesting part going forward is what the Steelers are going to do (or at least focus on) for their second matchup against the Ravens.
Steelers vs Cowboys preview
The Cowboys are America’s favorite team once again. By that, I mean every NFL team would love to play them, and every NFL fan loves to see them on the schedule of their favorite team. On Sunday night, the Cowboys’ ineptitude was on display to the entire country.
Their gameplan against the Eagles was a lot like directions the Military gives to people in SERE school for those training for the event of being captured by the enemy. The Cowboys did all they could to put the ball in everyone’s hands but their quarterback. For a half, the plan worked. However, as the third quarter wound down, the Eagles stayed aggressive, while the Cowboys did all they could to wind the clock as fast as possible.
The Steelers have to be pretty excited about this game. Following a huge road win against their rival, they get to play a Cowboys team void of talent and depth. The Cowboys are currently trying to decide which recent practice squad quarterback they want to roll out against the Steelers. If there has ever been a “sure thing” in the NFL, this has to be the closest thing to it.
The Steelers run defense is among the best in the league. Their secondary is the biggest question mark, but they at least make the occasional big play from time to time. Offensively, it’s probably time we cap our expectations with the Steelers.
Though they have a talented group of receivers and a quality, veteran quarterback, the Steelers don’t have the blocking to enable all these weapons. With the current state of the Steelers offensive line, the defense is going to have to continue to be great if they hope to win the AFC.
As bad as the Cowboys are going to be in this game, the Steelers aren’t going to give them anything easy. I expect the Steelers to utilize the ground game and focus on run defense early. We should see more runs to open up deeper drops in play-action, which should allow Ben to make a few big downfield throws.
This game should be a flex move for the Steelers offensively. By that, I mean the Steelers open up the offense to keep other teams in check. It makes sense for the Steelers to take some shots in this game, so future opposing defensive coordinators have to gameplan for a wide array of play calls, instead of all the short stuff the Steelers have been leaning on since their offensive line got so banged-up.
Whether it’s Garret Gilbert, Cooper Rush, or just some washed-up former college football quarterback who lost his sales job and had to move back in with his parents, none of that will matter this week. We are all about to witness a very tragic massacre.