The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field Sunday when they hosted the Seattle Seahawks in their home opener in Week 2 of the regular season. The Steelers were losers in the contest, but that doesn’t mean every player had a poor performance.
It might be early, and improvement is hopefully going to come, but the judgement process must go on. Players who play well can be considered ‘Winners’, while those who left a lot to be desired can be called ‘Losers’. It may sound harsh, but it is the crux of this exercise.
Let’s check in to see who fell on which side of the ledger after Week 2...
(Editor’s Note: We realize the losers list could possible encompass a large portion of the team and coaching staff, but to keep it brief we selected just 7 here in this article.)
Stat Line: 12/19, 112 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Watching Ben Roethlisberger leave via injury was disappointing, but it wasn’t as if Roethlisberger was setting the world on fire with his play. Just like the preseason, when Mason Rudolph entered the game things started to turn around. Maybe it was the fact Randy Fichtner got to truly call the game, or maybe Rudolph had a calming influence on the offense. We might never know, but Rudolph did well for himself Sunday, to the point where many, including myself, are excited about potentially seeing him play more.
Stat Line: 7 receptions, 7 targets, 38 yards, 2 TDs
It took a while, but Rudolph found an early connection with McDonald. The two hooked up for two touchdowns, and McDonald could, and should, be a large part of this offense moving forward. At a time when the offense is looking for an identity, having McDonald on the field and a weapon both in the run and the passing game is crucial.
Stat Line: 4 tackles, 3 solo, 2.5 sacks, 3 QB Hits
Tuitt looked like he was shot out of a canon early in the game, and registered 2.5 sacks during the contest. This is the type of production fans expected of Tuitt when he was given his monster contract before the 2018 regular season. The hope is now Tuitt can do it for more than just one game.
Stat Line: 6 tackles, 3 solo, 1 sack, 1 QB Hit, 1 Forced Fumble
His stat line might not look like much, but Watt has lived up to the billing early in the season. My concern with him was how he would deal with the extra attention after registering double-digit sacks in 2018. He has acclimated himself well, and his knack for forcing fumbles was a huge key in the Steelers staying in the game Sunday.
Stat Line: 6 tackles, 5 solo, 1 PD
On a day when the defense did very little to give fans hope, Steven Nelson has been a bright spot for the black-and-gold. The biggest free agent acquisition has been the opposite of some other acquisitions the team has had in the recent past. If he continues to play this way, he and Joe Haden will make a very good tandem for at least the next three seasons.
Stat Line: 0 receptions, 1 target, ball hits his facemask and turns into an INT
Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, Moncrief goes out and basically gifts the Seahawks an interception after letting the football sail through his hands, bounce off his facemask and into the arms of a diving defender. Moncrief didn’t see the field after that, and there is no reason he should see the field much, barring injury, in the near future.
Stat Line: 11 tackles, 8 solo, 1 PD, too many gaffes
Edmunds led the Steelers in tackles but the plays he missed during the game were more notable than the tackles he did make. Edmunds is experiencing some growing pains, but the team needs him to be better. Better around the line of scrimmage, and better tackling. As a safety he should be able to play better in coverage, yet here we are. Edmunds encapsulates what this defense is right now. Some good plays, and plenty of bad ones.
Stat Line: 2 tackles, 1 solo, .5 TFL, costly penalty
The reason Big Dan finds himself on the loser list is simple. His penalty added points for the Seahawks. Sure, you can say the Steelers could have stopped them again, but the defense had already stopped them, until the personal foul penalty occurred. That is a mistake a rookie makes, not a veteran like McCullers.
NFL Pass Interference Review System
Stat Line: No one knows what pass interference is anymore
Talk about a play which turned the tide in the game. On a 2nd and 20, Russell Wilson throws a prayer up to Tyler Lockett, and it falls incomplete. Just before the 3rd down play is run, Pete Carroll throws the challenge flag. The reversal from incomplete pass to defensive pass interference leaves everyone wondering what in the world they are watching? Is this the way the game is going to be moving forward? If so, the officials are in a lose-lose situation.
Stat Line: 34 passes to 16 runs
Through two games the Steelers have been a pass-happy team. Sure, they have been trailing in both games all but maybe a quarter vs. Seattle. But it isn’t as if things in Week 2 got out of control early. The Steelers, especially with Rudolph under center, will need to show a running game for them to see even marginal success for the rest of the season.
Stat Line: Overall plan wasn’t good
I have never see an offense who runs their opening script and looks so awful doing it. This tells me either the game planning leading up to the game is awful, or the overall execution is dreadful. Either way, both on offense and defense the coaching staff has to be better. The players have to be better prepared and show the ability to adjust, something the Steelers coaches don’t do well. Everyone needs to be better, and that includes the coaches.