Throughout the 2021 season I have offered my thoughts on a player the Pittsburgh Steelers will be tasked with shutting down. Most of the names I have listed have potential to go off and win a game on their own. Thankfully this week the Steelers opponent really doesn't have that guy or at least no one has shown that ability to date. But like in many circumstances where the Steelers are supposed win a game handily most of Steelers’ Nation will get worried. And rightfully so as the Steelers have a history of playing down to their opponents.
So this week we will focus on the Steelers and how they cannot beat themselves in this matchup. A lot of this pressure will always fall on the shoulders of a team’s quarterback, as if any team’s pivot has a down week typically their team is going to lose. It is the nature of the business and position. Ben Roethlisberger needs to put together a decent, but not necessarily perfect, game on Monday night. The Steelers shouldn't need 400 passing yards and four touchdowns out of Ben to win, they just need the 18-year pro to play a solid 60 minutes and protect the football. In recent weeks Roethlisberger has proved he can do exactly that against more talented teams, so continuing that trend is paramount here in Week 9. It is also important to remember Roethlisberger has been limited in practice all week with shoulder, pectoral, and hip injuries so there will be a possibility these pressures fall on the shoulders of Mason Rudolph if Roethlisberger gets banged up any more.
Monday should be another example of why the Steelers drafted Najee Harris with their first-round draft pick last spring. Let the ‘rook’ cook, and attack the Bears play after play. Running the ball and play action has been a successful recipe for the Steelers over this three-game win streak and if they want to push it to four then repeating more of the same is a major key.
Defensively the Steelers just need to treat Justin Fields like any other rookie quarterback. The Steelers typically hunt rookie passers and make their lives a living nightmare. Sacks and quarterback hits should have a massive tally by the end of the night if the Steelers are going to win. Thankfully for the Steelers, Justin Fields is the most sacked quarterback in the NFL being taken down 26 times, and basically didn't play in either of the Bears first two games. Long story short, T.J. Watt and company should be in for a sack party.
The defense also has to focus on not allowing the big play. Not giving the Bears any full-field touchdowns or field flipping lobs will keep this game in check for all 60 minutes. If the Bears are forced to go on long drive after long drive, the Steelers likelihood of winning this game should grow exponentially. And if the defense can force the Bears into multiple turnovers, then there really shouldn't be any reason to sweat on Monday night.
But it is the Steelers after all, so are you nervous they lay an egg against an inferior opponent on Monday night? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.