CINCINNATI — The Steelers’ offense was an unabated mess on Sunday against the Bengals. Coming up with only 13 first downs through the whole game, a measly 4.4 yards per play, and 15 drives that did not inspire confidence, the Steelers’ offense struggled plenty enough at multiple levels.
On one hand, the Steelers’ rushing attack was nonexistent. They averaged 3.4 yards per carry and lacked the quick passing game to offset it. It is easy to smell the roses and understand that Pittsburgh did walk out with a victory, after all. However, the lack of execution, the poor blocking up front, and the compounding mental mistakes hurt this offense.
“We played our butts off,” Diontae Johnson said. “We’ve got some things to go over and some corrections to make. Obviously, the game wasn’t perfect. … We’ve just gotta start faster. Come out of the gate and [start] putting points on the board.”
Then, there was quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Trubisky was inaccurate and seemed flustered at times. While he did not turn the ball over, there were multiple missed reads by the former Chicago and Buffalo signal-caller. Moving forward, he must be one of those players who improves. But when the team needed him the most, Trubisky stepped up to make the big plays happen. He calmed the team down and they drove the field to finish what the defense started.
“Let’s go win the game,” Pat Freiermuth said. “Simple as that. Mitch came in. He was calm, cool and said ‘Let’s go win the game.’ … He stays the same the entire game …. It’s a confidence builder. Obviously, we came in there with 56 seconds, drove down the field, and got Bos a chance to get a winning field goal. A lot of confidence and a lot of things to build off.”
The offense may have something to build on in the future. Simply put, performances like the one put out on the field Sunday are not going to cut it. But they were clutch, and that stands for something. They were not pristine, but it is Week 1 after all, and the Steelers have all the time in the world to get the moving train firing on all cylinders. That is exactly what needs to occur as the offense keeps growing.
“We made plays in big-time moments.,” Freiermuth said. “That’s what Coach T preaches. That’s what we worked on at camp. You guys see it. When we’re there, it’s always third-down emphasis and clutch performance emphasis. Coach did a great job getting us set for that.”