The result was far from what the Steelers expected, especially given how well the team performed in the preseason. Pittsburgh has to improve, or else the season will get grim fast.
Luckily, Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt believes he has the diagnosis behind the team’s loss.
“You guys watched the preseason,” Watt said via the team’s website. “We were able to start fast in all three phases of the game, and today was definitely not like that. Even to be able to stop the bleeding coming out at halftime and have them have a two-play 70-plus-yard drive is not acceptable at all.
“It’s a matter of starting fast, not just in the first half but also coming out in the second half, going as hard as we can to give the offense the ball back, which we weren’t able to do.”
On the Steelers’ first three drives, Pittsburgh ran nine plays for -3 yards and an interception. Meanwhile, San Francisco’s first three drives led to 22 plays for 147 yards. The Niners scored on each drive to make it 17-0, digging a hole too deep for the Steelers to get out of.
While the Kenny Pickett touchdown to Pat Freiermuth gave the Steelers hope and made it a two-score game, that hope vanished away in the first half after Christian McCaffrey ran the ball 65 yards to the house on the opening drive.
The air was sucked out of the balloon before it had a chance to be blown up, and the Steelers have only themselves to blame. Granted, the Niners are one of the NFL’s best teams, but the result shouldn’t have been as lopsided as it was.
The Steelers hope to gain some momentum back next week when they host the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15 p.m.