I get it; the Pittsburgh Steelers defense is not good right now. It doesn’t matter who you face, giving up 40 points at home is not a good look. However, we are now two games into the 2018 season, and no one has been able to solve the riddle of Patrick Mahomes. Remember, the Kansas City Chiefs started their season 6-0 last season, and their offense was moving with Alex Smith.
The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Mahomes and let Alex Smith go because they thought they had a definite upgrade. With that, they added Sammy Watkins to complete what has been an unstoppable offense this season. Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins are such good deep threats that neither can be left on an island. However, if you use two safeties over the top, Travis Kelce can beat you in the middle.
That does not even factor in Chris Conley, DeAnthony Thomas, Anthony Sherman and Kareem Hunt who can be used in a variety of ways to complement these threats. Alex Smith is a great quarterback. However, he cannot make some of the throws that Patrick Mahomes makes.
The Chiefs offense has a limitless ceiling, and it will be interesting to see if anyone has an answer, or if the league is about to start looking like the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
In a shootout, you cannot go three and out. Ben Roethlisberger was off to start the game, and the team went three and out on their first two drives. That is not going to cut it. While he did rally, it was when the team was put into a huge hole.
Roethlisberger looks effective extending the play to make things happen down the field but has struggled with his deep accuracy in the pocket. The Steelers have been effective in the quick, short passing game and may need to look to that early to get Ben Roethlisberger into a rhythm before checking it out down the field.
James Conner is on fire. While the game script called for no running, Conner had five receptions for 48 yards. Did you see the one-handed catch that landed with one foot out of bounds? He drew a penalty and a first down, but what a play. Conner is in the best shape in his life and is impacting the passing game like he never did at Pitt.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is dominant over the middle of the field. As weird as it may sound, the team may want to work to him early to open things up for Antonio Brown. Brown had nine receptions on 17 targets but appeared frustrated in the game. That is likely because he only had 67 yards and was not able to get free down the field. It seems to be a Roethlisberger issue, but it has put the Steelers into a position of forcing him the ball in obvious positions.
James Washington still has a ways to go to be a consistent deep threat down the field, but he can come and go in moments as he learns. He did come up with a touchdown, despite that being his only reception on five targets.
The Steelers have used Ryan Switzer out of the backfield in two straight games. Today, he finished with two carries for five yards.
Today was the Jesse James show. He found space over the middle of the field and capitalized with five receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown. James is not a strong athlete but is sure-handed. He can get lost in the mix of skill players and is a nice asset to have.
Vance McDonald played for the first time and looked fine while being eased into the mix. He did get called for a block in the back, which is disappointing considering he brings a lot of value as a blocker.
B.J. Finney slotted in for David DeCastro and did not have a great day. He has played well in his limited time but has always played left guard, as a sub for Ramon Foster. The other side was not kind to him. Myles Garrett dominated Alejandro Villanueva, which is excusable. However, it looked like another straight performance of average to below average play. Ramon Foster had a poor game as well in what was a disappointment for what is usually a strength of the team.
Stephon Tuitt has seven tackles, and Cam Heyward brought six. As the team back in the second quarter, it was these two setting the momentum with pockets pushed and incompletions forced. However, when the two did not get home, the defenses got torched.
Without Tyson Alualu the depth of the group was down. However, the Chiefs personnel pushed them into keeping two defensive linemen on the field in most cases.
Bud Dupree looked comfortable again in Week Two. Now, the question is how good can he be, as he did not get home despite a few solid rushes. T.J. Watt looks like he has a chance to breakout this season. However, without any depth for these two, they have a lot of lifting to do.
Jon Bostic and Vince Williams have both been stable against the run. The two have also been torched against tight ends and running backs in the passing game. The two are good downhill, but neither plays well in space. This is going to be an issue.
They sub in Morgan Burnett to offset the speed of the linebackers, but he is not too fast in his own right. The Chiefs were not afraid to pick on him. Terrell Edmunds and Sean Davis also had awakenings in a new role for a veteran and a new job for a rookie.
The group as a whole struggled. They failed to communicate with their safeties and saw the effects down the field. When Joe Haden is not on the field, there is a lot of youth and no leader on the back end yet. This could become a huge issue if Haden misses a lot of time.