There’s always so much to talk about when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But the inquiries surrounding the black-and-gold are definitely ever-evolving. Especially this week with the Steelers losing their second game of the 2020 season and all of their offensive woes that have been plaguing them. BTSC tries to answer some of the poignant wonderings ahead of time. Take a gander at some bold statements on this and more as we label them as fact or fiction.
Are we on point? Only time will tell.
The Steelers will be best served by winning emphatically over Cincinnati on Monday Night Football
Mike Tomlin says it all the time and I most always find myself in complete agreement with the Steelers Head Coach...“style points don’t matter”. However, I’m jumping on the bandwagon driven by BTSC co-editor Jeff Hartman on a recent edition of Let’s Ride (download it today anywhere that you find your favorite podcasts) in which he claims that style points most certainly do matter in Week 15 against the AFC North cellar dwellers. First and foremost, the Steelers need to win period and exclamation point. But they need to do it emphatically and in a stylish manner. Why? The Steelers need a statement win in which they dominate on both sides of the ball. There are plenty of questions surrounding this team, mostly on offense, and a “get right” game this week could stabilize the team with two tough clubs in the form of the Indianapolis Colts, the Cleveland Browns and the NFL playoffs on the horizon.
Ben Roethlisberger’s time in Pittsburgh has come to an end
Here we go again. Everybody’s calling for Ben Roethlisberger’s helmet and for his retirement. How soon we forget how much we longed for him in 2019 when he was on the shelf after only six quarters of play. Ben has his faults and isn’t playing at an All-Pro level, but his play was crucial in all eleven of the Steelers’ victories in 2020. Sure, we would all love to see No. 7 throw more midrange and deep balls more often and more effectively. But after two losses and a couple of tight wins, some fans in Steeler Nation are looking for Big Ben’s successor in 2021. In fact, they want the Steelers to trade for Sam Darnold (even though they can’t due to the postseason being over) now. Even if Ben doesn’t return next season (which I fully expect him to), he going to count around $40M against the cap. But the biggest truth to the matter is that the Steelers really need Ben and he’s there only chance to advance in the postseason. We all got a sneak preview of life without Big Ben last year. Don’t be in a hurry for the full feature film.
Diontae Johnson’s benching due to dropped balls should have never come to that
Before you go all crazy...hear me out. I absolutely and positively agree with Mike Tomlin putting a dejected Diontae Johnson on the pine after his second drop in the early-goings of their contest in Buffalo. But it should have never gotten that far. Let me explain. Tomlin alluded to the drops, but didn’t single anybody out after the problem was prevalent in the narrow, but disappointing, win over Baltimore. After the loss to Washington, Coach T issued the “They can catch the ball or they can get replaced by those who will catch it” proclamation. So Tomlin definitely made the right decision to sit Johnson. But why did it take so long for No. 18 to get the message? Why did he have to get benched to quit dropping passes? And did he really correct the problem due to the Buffalo defense playing back with a huge lead? Here’s hoping that DJ18 has corrected the issue and that the drops don’t rear its’ ugly head again. Let’s just hope that the message has completely been received this time.
Derek Watt can make an impact on the offense if the scheme allows it
Derek Watt has not been used one iota on offense in nine games this season. He’s been open a few times though and many fans feel that he should be. His only mark as a Steeler has been as a special teamer or does his $3.5 million contract make him more like a special teaser. The offensive game plan is as bland as oatmeal and as potent as a Shirley Temple. But Derek made a career as a Charger with splash plays as an offensive threat. He even scored against the Steelers in 2018. The offense could benefit from a competent fullback like Watt to help open holes, but right now the scheme is not allowing it. The Steelers used to mix in a pass or run to Rosie Nix from time to time and it was most always successful. Maybe mixing in Watt more could help the offense thrive.
Harassing the quarterback is not the defensive key to victory on Monday
The Steelers pass rush was ineffective in a major way against the Buffalo Bills last Sunday night. Sure they extended their sack streak to an NFL record 70 games. But they only got one. That was their lowest total of the season. Stephon Tuitt was pretty much nowhere to be found, TJ Watt was held without a sack for only the fourth time in twelve games and Josh Allen, a very sackable quarterback, made them pay for it. The Bengals have allowed their quarterbacks to be sacked 46 times and the Steelers have committed the crime 45 times in 2020. With a poor offensive line and plenty of inexperience at the quarterback position with Ryan Finley, the Steelers need to get after the quarterback early and often. If that occurs, the Bengals will get very little offensive production.
Are these statements valid? We will soon see. What matters most are your opinions on the matter. Please state them in the comments below or on our social media.
Check out the Fact or Fiction podcast to learn even more about these topics, and their status, heading into this week’s game: