Nobody asked me, but…
* In every hyper-paced world that we live in, given how social media drives so much of the conversation, the Pittsburgh Steelers have already started out faster than 99% of the ‘experts’ suggested they would. Not only did they never trail the Cincinnati Bengals at any point last week, but they didn’t turn the ball over once. Some of that credit needs to fall at the feet of quarterback Mitch Trubisky who, according to many, should be banished to the bench in favor of rookie Kenny Pickett. I can’t believe I’m one of the few defending this guy, but here we are.
* Trubisky’s game play on Sunday didn’t impress many and when you put the stats on paper, yeah, he was pedestrian for sure. But when it really mattered most, Mitch got it done. Two items I look at tell me all I need to know. First, the TD drive in the 2nd quarter. The offense got the benefit of a short field off the T.J. Watt pick. Mitch executed a great play-fake slowing down the Bengals’ D just enough to find Zach Gentry for a big gain. Then after a PI gave the Steelers 1st & goal, it was Trubisky who faced pressure from his backside and a charging Akeem Davis-Gaither in his face. Mitch calmly threw a perfect touch-pass to Najee Harris for the score. Then late in OT, Trubisky made what I felt was his best play of the day. With a Bengals D-lineman jumping offside, Mitch kept the play going instead of spiking the ball. It’s a good thing he did as Pat Freiermuth got open for 25 yards, leading to the eventual game-winner by Chris Boswell.
Steelers Brian Flores Has Significant Impact and Influence On Defense In 2022 Implies Patriots OL Coach Matt Patricia
* Is Brian Flores the Steelers’ biggest off-season acquisition? His schemes against Cincinnati might indicate yes. It’s just one game, but when has the Steelers D played that well against a very good opponent? Season opener last year, maybe?
* The injury news that came out of Sunday has ended up better than expected. It sure didn’t look good when T.J. came off the field late in the fourth. TV cameras caught him telling players and coaching staff that he ‘tore his pec’ as the nation gasped. We now know that he didn’t suffer a season-ending injury and may only miss six games. His possible return to Philadelphia would come at a much-needed time. Without Watt, this defense is still good, but not elite.
* Najee Harris could very well play Sunday in the Acrisure opener (Still sounds funny to say, doesn’t it) versus New England. The deadly ‘high ankle’ sprain should heal. As of now, Harris remains a game-time decision. If Najee isn’t 100%, I say sit him on Sunday. No need to rush him back, although I think he will play if he can. Besides, this game won’t have much scoring as it has the feel of a 13-6, 9-7 affair.
* The offensive line didn’t have a bad afternoon, but they need to improve. Rushing-wise, it was rather slim against a very stout Bengals run D, managing just 75 yards rushing and nearly half of that coming off the feet of WR Chase Claypool. But they only allowed one sack so there has to be something said for that. I don’t know if we can get a better effort against the Pats.
* Hats off to Minkah Fitzpatrick who was a pure beast Sunday. What more can be said at this point? His play and output may actually go UP with Watt down for six weeks. How scary is that to think?
* Speaking of production going UP, where will Alex Highsmith‘s fall in the category of ‘picking up’ in Watt’s absence?
* More Trubisky hate flowing on Twitter as I write this. Yeah, we know it’s ‘frustrating’ to see your QB not play well. That doesn’t mean he needs to be benched in favor of a rookie who looked good against a bunch of guys now working for FedEx and Publix, waiting for a call because somebody got hurt who has a faster 40 than them. It’s amazing when people fawn over this kid as if he faced the 85′ Bears defense during pre-season.
* The Steelers’ defense got to the head of Joe Burrow so much on Sunday, that he sat in the locker room for about an hour still in uniform, speaking to nobody. More of that, please.
* With Mac Jones hurting due to injury, plus the poor performance at Miami to start the season, don’t be shocked if Bill Belichick has his club ready. To be fair, Belichick has owned the Steelers and Mike Tomlin, posting an 8-3 mark in both regular and pos-season tilts. Last week was a great spot for Tomlin. His team was a decisive underdog not expected to win and that’s when he’s at his best. This week, the line has the Patriots -1 and should stay that way until Sunday morning. It should be interesting to see if any steam comes in and moves it, while the total is 40.5 as of Wednesday at noon.
So, Steeler Nation how do you think Sunday will turn out? Patriots or Steelers? Win or lose? Sound off below in the comments section.