PITTSBURGH — Perhaps the Steelers defense can not be wronged too much. Most of their defensive front is hurt and they are still working through a rotation on the back end in the secondary. They still only allowed 24 points in Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, even though Joe Burrow became confident.
The most infuriating thing may have been the touchdown drive they allowed right before the half. it was capped off by a Ja’Marr Chase touchdown on James Pierre. Running a Cover 3 scheme, Pierre was playing soft, but somehow let Chase get behind him. Simply put that is not acceptable. Pierre was slow to turn and Chase simply ran right on by him to the endzone. Chase broke down what he saw in the play and how it played out from his point of view.
“I was just telling Joe what I had seen from the corner,” Chase said. “You know, I knew what I expected him to do, and I told Joe I had a one-on-one situation. I was just giving him my thoughts and talking about what we needed to do on certain routes … he was just open as soon as I got to him. He was opening up his hips real late. So, we took advantage of it.”
As Chase notes, Pierre did open up his hips too late. This does not mean to be overly concerned with Pierre. The secondary, in fact, has been plenty fine as it stands thus far on the year. However, it is a learning experience for a guy who is essentially getting his first full season of tread out there at cornerback. So, Pierre will likely learn from this example. Not everyone will have Chase’s speed, either, but Pierre will need to know how to play against those speedsters as he grows.