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2 Winners and a ton of Losers after the Steelers blowout loss to the Patriots

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After every game there are players who play well, and those who don’t. This is where the ‘Winners and Losers’ column comes from.

Pittsburgh Steelers v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field Sunday night when they traveled to play the New England Patriots in Week 1 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 1...

(Editor’s Note: We realize the losers list could possible encompass the entire team and coaching staff, but to keep it brief we selected just 7 here in this article.)

Winners

JuJu Smith-Schuster
Stat Line: 6 receptions, 78 yards

The offense was putrid. Period. But JuJu was at least a player who stepped up when the ball was thrown his way. He will have some growing pains moving into his No. 1 wide receiver role, but I feel his performance in Week 1 was a step in the right direction.

Chris Boswell
Stat Line: 1/1 FG

He had the only points of the game, and he made his only kick. After 2018, and desperately searching for winners, Boswell didn’t do anything negative.


Losers

Kam Kelly
Stat Line: 7 tackles, 5 solo

Welcome to the NFL Kam Kelly. While Kelly’s story to the Steelers is great, it also was tragic to watch the young man blow coverages often throughout the night in Foxboro. Tom Brady was able to manipulate Kelly easily, as expected, and made the Steelers pay. Sean Davis can’t get healthy fast enough.

Donte Moncrief
Stat Line: 3 receptions, 7 yards, 10 targets

No one was targeted more in Week 1 than Donte Moncrief, and he did everything in his power to instill the least amount of trust the fan base might have had in him. Signed as a free agent this offseason, Moncrief’s preseason debut was 1 catch for 1 yard and a fumble. This stat line might have been worse, considering the targets and the amount of drops he recorded. An awful start to a career in Pittsburgh, and if he doesn’t get right soon it could be a short one.

Randy Fichtner
Stat Line: 32 yards rushing, 276 yards passing, 0 TDs

Just to keep this brief, I am not going to touch on the play calls on 3rd and short. That is almost an article by itself. But what I will talk on is the offense which seemed to be searching for an answer the entire game. The game plan was questionable from the start, and they looked as if they were throwing objects at a wall trying to see what would stick. They tried the plays that worked in 2018. When that didn’t work they tried different personnel. That didn’t work either. I could go on, but Fichtner’s job is to find this offense’s identity, and quick.

Bud Dupree
Stat Line: 4 tackles, 4 solo, 1 sack, 2 TFL

I can see the comments now, “But Dupree had the only sack!” Yes, this is true, but the one thing I can’t wrap my head around is how a night when T.J. Watt was double teamed on EVERY PLAY, Dupree was given a one-on-one matchup. He was stone walled nearly every time. I shouldn’t be shocked, but I was expecting Dupree to thrive more when this situation presented itself. In the meantime, expect every offense to do the same thing until Dupree can prove he is worthy of more attention.

Ben Roethlisberger
Stat Line: 24/47, 276 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

If he didn’t throw an interception I might have kept him off the list. After all, it isn’t his fault Donte Moncrief can’t catch a football that hits him between the numbers. Nonetheless, Roethlisberger looked off, especially on deep passes, and the rust was evident from playing on a few series in the preseason. If this team is going to go anywhere in 2019, they need No. 7 to be a lot better than we saw on Sunday night.

Mike Tomlin
Stat Line: Last Steelers win in New England was 2008

We’ve all seen this song and dance before, but the reality of the situation is Tomlin was out-coached by Bill Belichick, again. A lot of people get out-coached by Belichick, but when you have this long to prepare, and you come up with just 3 points and looking dazed and confused, it is a bad look. This Seahawks game coming up is huge in a lot of ways, especially for Tomlin.

Steelers Nation
Stat Line: We had to watch that mess

We are all on the losers list, in a way, especially if we believed the hype of the Steelers potentially going into Foxborough and winning. We should have known better. But this one game doesn’t define the season. Have to hope the team can respond. In 2015, the Steelers went to Gillette Stadium and got beat by Tom Brady and company. Everyone was down, and the following week they hosted the San Francisco 49ers and completely blew their doors off to the tune of a 43-18 win. The Steelers will need a performance like that against Seattle to calm the nerves of this frantic fan base.