Looking Like Aluminum, Not Steel!

The Steelers first three games hint at a disastrous season.

Manas Kathir, Sports Editor

For any Steelers fans who are reading this article, please know that I am a Giants fan. Although I can be biased at times, the truth of the matter is that the New York Giants have a better record than the Pittsburgh Steelers this season. And trust me, that is saying a lot.

The Steelers kicked off their 2022-2023 season with a win that many can describe as lucky. Competing against the defending American Football Conference champs, the Cincinnati Bengals, the expectation was that Pittsburgh would lose. However, the Steeler defense showed amazing grit as they were able to create five turnovers against the usually stellar quarterback Joe Burrow.

Now, as much as the defense showed out, the offense was relatively average. You would expect a team that delivered five turnovers to score over 30 points, but the Steelers struggled to reach over 20. With the offense led by new quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, the team took advantage of the turnovers with a 17-6 lead going into the second half.

The third and fourth quarters are ultimately what made the game the most chaotic one of the opening week. The Steelers offense struggled to deliver any points throughout the third quarter, while Burrow was able to cash in a touchdown and a two-point conversion to help his team bring the lead down to three.

In the fourth quarter, the Steelers took advantage of a turnover and put up three more points with a Chris Boswell field goal, making the score 20-14. With around six minutes left in regulation, Burrow and the Bengals went the distance and were lined up at the Steelers 1-yard line in a First & Goal situation. However, they failed to get to the end zone four consecutive times and turned the ball back over to the Steelers with a little under two minutes remaining.

During the Steelers last offensive possession, star running back Najee Harris suffered a foot injury, and the team was only able to drain around 15 seconds off the clock, allowing the Bengals another chance to win. 

The Bengals were able to cash in a touchdown with one second remaining in regulation.  It got even worse for the Steelers as their debatably best player TJ Watt suffered a pectoral muscle injury and left the game. However, the Bengals failed to kick the game-winning extra point as star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick blocked the football. The game was the sent to overtime.

The Steelers won the toss to receive the ball and failed to put more points on the board. After that, Cincinnati was able to get into Pittsburgh territory to set up a 29-yard field goal, which Evan McPherson somehow missed. The Steelers were then able to set up Boswell for a 55-yard field goal, which hit the goal post and in the wrong direction. With around 2 minutes left in overtime, the Bengals failed on their last offensive possession and punted back to Pittsburgh. Trubisky, knowing it was his last chance to lift his team to victory with fifty seconds left, completed a difficult pass to tight end Pat Freiermuth and set up a 53-yard field goal with five seconds left in overtime. Boswell succeeded, and the Steelers won 23-20.

While a win of any kind in Week One is nothing to downplay, Steelers fans suspected their luck would not last.

And it didn’t.

The Steelers have been an embarrassment ever since. Losing TJ Watt has a lot to do with the struggles, but there is no excuse for the lack of communication with the offense. The Steelers scored 14 points against the New England Patriots in Week Two and 17 against the Cleveland Browns in Week Three. Trubisky has been average at best, and the defense has to do too much in order for the team to win games.

As long as Watt continues to miss games and the offense looks like this, the Steelers could be in danger of reaching their first losing record under head coach Mike Tomlin. There clearly is frustration surrounding the locker room, and adjustments need to be made. Otherwise, based on what we have seen the past three weeks, it is time to worry if you are a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers.