The Pittsburgh Steelers had their struggles in Week 16 when they lost to the New York Jets by the score of 16-10. The team’s offense simply couldn’t get out of their own way, whether it be back-breaking interceptions or poor snaps which essentially nullified a play.
Looking back at the game, there weren’t a ton of positives to speak of, at least on the offensive side of the football. Defensively, T.J. Watt remains a dominant force, and a genuine Defensive Player of the Year front-runner. Bud Dupree reached double-digit sacks for the first time in his career and outside of an opening drive touchdown, did their job.
So, what is there to possibly glean from the dreadful performance at MetLife Stadium? Pro Football Focus (PFF) tried their best to put a spin on this game which didn’t make fans lose their Christmas cookies. As always,the fine folks at PFF deliver the goods and it is time to see what they had to say about the game that was:
Devlin Hodges started the game under center for Pittsburgh, but two bad interceptions resulted in his benching. Mason Rudolph came in and played surprisingly well before he got injured, bringing Hodges back once again. He ultimately was unable to rally the offense to a win on the road.
The play of the day for the Pittsburgh offense was when receiver Diontae Johnson beat his man deep at the end of the first half and caught a well-placed ball from Rudolph for a touchdown.
T.J. Watt had the holy trinity of strip-sack-recovery on Sam Darnold late in the first half after beating Brandon Shell outside. The turnover led to a Steelers touchdown with four seconds left in the half. Watt’s strip of Darnold was aided by how low Darnold brought the ball back in his delivery.
Bud Dupree got a clean-up sack of Darnold as he attempted to leave the pocket in the third quarter to end a Jets’ drive.
In hindsight, the play of Hodges was by far the worst aspect of the Steelers’ most recent loss. The turnovers are bad, but where the ball is being turned over is back-breaking. Red-zone turnovers take points off the board, and when you have an offense as anemic as the Steelers’, you simply can’t have them in any game and expect to win.
As Mike Tomlin famously said when Hodges took over at quarterback, the goal is for him to “not kill us”. Sadly, with six interceptions in his last two games, Hodges has done just that.
Of course PFF gave T.J. Watt his due props after another stellar game, and he and Bud Dupree are putting together tremendous seasons for the black-and-gold in a year when they absolutely needed them to step up their game. It has been the relentless pass rush which has been the calling card of this Steelers’ defense, and without them this season would have been over a long time ago.
What do you think of PFF’s assessment? Do you agree? Disagree? Either way, let us know your thoughts in the comment section as the Steelers turn their attention to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17.