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Instant analysis: Steelers paint a canvas of mistakes in season-opening loss to 49ers

It was an afternoon of embarrassment for the Steelers to begin their season.

San Francisco 49ers v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Anthony McFarland and T.J. Watt played great. Everyone else stunk.

The Steelers were awful in their season opener against the San Francisco 49ers. Just awful on all facets.

To quote Motionless In White, every canvas that the Steelers paint is a masterpiece of their mistakes. Pittsburgh’s first five drives were as follows:

  • Three-and-out
  • Interception
  • Three-and-out
  • Three-and-out
  • Three-and-out

To contrast, the 49ers went touchdown, field goal, touchdown, field goal, punt on their first five drives.

At one point in the game, the 49ers were out gaining Pittsburgh 199 yards to one. San Francisco’s offense had zero issues all day long. Brock Purdy went 19-of-29 for 220 yards and two touchdowns, while Christian McCaffrey ate the Steelers run defense. The star running back racked up 151 yards and one touchdown while averaging seven yards per carry.

Oh, and if Brandon Aiyuk played every game like he did against the Steelers, he would be the greatest receiver to ever walk the planet. He was constantly open, catching eight passes for 129 yards and making Patrick Peterson look foolish on two touchdown grabs. T.J. Watt was the only Steelers’ defender worth anything on the field as he totaled three sacks and forced two fumbles.

Offensively, it was the same old Steelers. No offensive line protection, which prevented any chance of aggressive play-calling. Kenny Pickett looked terrible. He threw two bad interceptions and couldn’t get anything going offensively. Overall, he totaled 232 yards and a touchdown pass at the end of the first half to Pat Freiermuth, which gave the Steelers a glimmer of hope. That hope had its throat slit by a 65 yard touchdown run by McCaffrey to open the second half.

The Steelers played uninspired. They had no juice offensively, and their defense allowed the 49ers to do whatever they wanted. After a preseason that instilled so much hope, the Steelers served their fans a toilet salad to begin the year. And to top it all off, Cam Heyward and Diontae Johnson both suffered injuries in the game. A lot better change in the next week, or the Browns will waltz on into Acrisure Stadium and give the Steelers an 0-2 start.