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Steelers Stat Pack: Mitch Trubisky Struggles, Run Defense Shines

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Steelers QB Mitch Trubisky

The Steelers defeated the Bengals, but not everything was perfect. For one, Mitch Trubisky had his struggles. On the flip side, the Steelers got after Joe Burrow in a special way. Minkah Fitzpatrick ended up proving how special of a player he was on the field. The film says one thing, and then the stats back that up or reveal hidden details. So, what are some interesting stats from the Week 1 performance against the Bengals?

Mitch Trubisky Struggles But Aggressive

Trubisky struggled in this game, but his stats tell an interesting story of how this Steelers offense played around him. For one, Trubisky was pretty aggressive throughout the game. His average depth of target (aDOT), meaning how far his intended targets were away from him on each throw, was a little bit over eight yards at 8.1. That ranked 13th in the NFL this week. He also attempted eight passes of 20 or more yards, the most in the NFL. Trubisky’s issue was not that of aggressiveness, but of accuracy.

PlayerProfiler charted Trubisky with two interceptable passes and calculated his true completion percentage, which throws out throwaways and drops, at only 58.3 percent, 29th in the NFL. Mitch Trubisky got rid of the ball in 2.64 seconds, 9th fastest in the NFL, but it is a whole 0.6 seconds longer than Ben Roethlisberger a year ago. So, Trubisky is letting things develop for better or worse. Next Gen Stats awarded Trubisky with a 28.9 aggressiveness rating, making him the 2nd most aggressive quarterback in the NFL with his tight-window throws in Week 1.

The Bengals Run Man Coverage 

The Bengals hit the Steelers with an absurd amount of man coverage. They ran man coverage on a crazy 95.7 percent of plays against the Steelers and Trubisky on Sunday. Cincinnati forced Trubisky to throw into tight windows, and it largely worked. Trubisky’s completion percentage against man coverage was a clean 50 percent on the day. Could this be the blueprint teams use until the Steelers figure out how to beat it? That is likely to remain the case.

Chase Claypool Rocks the Slot

Chase Claypool is not the player that most fans will remember he has. Remember when he was the big-bodied outside receiver as a downfield threat? No more is that Claypool, but now he is a slot receiver through and through. With his ten touches, including six rushes, perhaps Claypool is in his wide back era. Still, Claypool ran 40 of his 41 routes out of the slot and played 52 of his 58 snaps in the slot according to PlayerProfiler. In addition, his average depth of target was 6.8 in Week 1, which fell an entire five yards from 2021’s usage.

The new era of Claypool is here. He is no longer the big Z-receiver, but rather a big slot that is used in a lot of similar ways to JuJu Smith-Schuster, but with more dynamic athleticism.

The Steelers Shut Down Bengals Run Game

The basic stats from the Steelers’ win in their run defense department are encouraging. However, it is even better than initially thought on second glance. The Bengals rushing success rate, which is a run of five or more yards, came in at a low 20 percent, the worst in the NFL during Week 1. Could the Steelers run defense have asked anything more from their players after a historically bad performance a year ago?

Probably not, and the Steelers are in good shape if that trend continues. The Bengals offensive line and quality running back gave them a good challenge and they passed it with flying colors.

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