There are many directions in which the finger can be pointed as far as blame to why the Pittsburgh Steelers lost their home opener this past weekend 17-10 against the New England Patriots. Coming off of an impressive 23-20 win versus the Cincinnati Bengals last weekend, all of Steeler Nation was hopeful to see the same sort of defensive dominance we saw in Week 1 that was able to overcome the struggles our offense saw. Unfortunately, that was not the case as both sides of the football struggled to control the game.
Although Minkah Fitzpatrick did come up with what is already his second interception of the season, our defensive front was unable to get much of a push on the opposing offensive line without star outside linebacker T.J. Watt. The defense struggled to get to the quarterback, ultimately resulting in zero total sacks. Our offense, led by Mitch Trubisky, was unable to pick up the slack of our defense, as our offensive passing and rushing attack never got momentum built, resulting in just 14 points scored on just one touchdown.
Against the Patriots, Trubisky himself accounted for 21 of 33 pass attempts for just 168 yards and a lone touchdown to tight end Pat Freiermuth in the red zone. Although Trubisky brings experience behind center to the table, the former first-round pick has struggled to find his rhythm in the black and gold as of yet and has had to rely on his top-tier defense in order to keep him in games.
Trubsiky’s situation is not one that most would envy. Although named a team captain and was handed the keys to this year’s offense, there is an immense amount of pressure put on Trubisky this season, in more ways than one. Not only was he handed the keys to an offense for the first time in three years, but he now has this year’s first-round selection, Kenny Pickett, behind him on the depth chart, waiting for his opportunity. It’s no secret that Pickett is a fan favorite, especially after having a stellar pre-season, and it is something Trubisky has been familiarized with.
I am very aware that it has only been just two games, but I am also aware of the patience level of our fan base, and there really isn’t much. We, as a fan base, have been spoiled with hall of fame quarterback play for the past 18 seasons with Ben Roethlisberger under center, and it doesn’t sound like we are willing to wait much longer to see that type of quarterback play again. After only putting together a total of 362 passing yards and one touchdown in the two previous games, Steeler Nation voiced their frustration with our offense by chanting “Kenny” in hopes the coaching staff would turn to the rookie sooner rather than later.
“It is what it is,”Trubisky said after the game.“You just block it out and play football.”
I think it was to be expected, especially with the amount of love this fan base seems to have for young Pickett already, it was really just a question of how soon. By no means do I think that Trubisky doesn’t deserve a bit more opportunity before we give up on him, I just think he needs to get it figured out rather quickly in order to keep his spot as the starting quarterback. If he doesn’t, I think we will be seeing a lot of the rookie quarterback in this Matt Canada run offense sometime very soon.
“We can be better at everything,” Trubisky said. “I can be better with decision making. We had some missed opportunities with missed throws. We had a couple where we weren’t on the same page. Bottom line, we’ve got to score more points.”
If Trubisky has an off game this Thursday versus the Cleveland Browns, do we see the Steelers going with Kenny Pickett the rest of the way?