If Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills taught all of SteelerNation one thing, it would be that whatever trajectory this team is on this season is going to be a good one. The Pittsburgh Steelers, with a team full of question marks, went into Buffalo and took down arguably one of the top teams in all of the AFC this season and did so with a dominating defensive performance. It was clear that the reason for this victory, (although described as a “team win”), had a lot to do with the defensive effort that this group made and did a good job of putting our offense in positions to be set up for success.
The Steelers defense dominated from start to finish. They put pressure on Buffalo’s offensive line throughout the game and we saw outside linebackers TJ Watt, Melvin Ingram and Alex Highsmith making themselves comfortable in Buffalo’s backfield all afternoon and had tremendous secondary play to back up the amount of pressure the front four was getting. Our offense, on the other hand struggled to start, to say the least. The whole first half, this offense looked one dimensional yet again. There was no movement in our running game and we could not seem to get in a rhythm in the passing game to save our lives. Our offensive line was getting pushed back on almost every play and Ben Roethlisberger was finding himself under pressure a lot more than he has been used to as of late.
Once the second half started, this looked like a whole new offense. Although, no one’s individual performance garnered any huge stat games for our playmakers, this team was moving the ball down the field on each possession against a tough Buffalo defense. Rookie running back Najee Harris broke out for a few good runs, rushing for a total of 46 yards on 16 carries but it was really our passing attack that drove us downfield. Big time receptions from Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster in the passing game allowed for this offense to be put in a position to score points, if so only a field goal.
Roethlisberger did connect with Diontae Johnson on an impressive touchdown reception early on in the fourth quarter adding a bit of cushion between the two teams and it ended up being the deciding factor at the end of the game. That being said, despite the slow start, this offensive unit did give everyone something to look forward to and it’s obvious that this team is filled with playmakers, in the backfield and lining up at the receiver position, a good position to be in. It was only the first game of the season and there were some bumps and bruises, but those are to be expected. When asked, postgame, why it took so long for his team to get off to a good start offensively, I think Roethlisberger stated it best, “I was just settling in”.
“I’m proud of the guys because they didn’t blink. They stood up in the face of not playing well early. We didn’t make a big mistake, which was huge. We didn’t turn the ball over and didn’t do anything catastrophic. The fact that we came in at halftime, there was no ‘ra-ra’, no one acted crazy. It was just, we have another half to play and let’s do it.”
Watch the full postgame interview below:
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 12, 2021
Do you think this offensive unit can carry on their success into Week 2? Comment below!