For the second straight game, in back-to-back efforts to begin what was supposed to be a new start from this new look Pittsburgh Steelers defense, the team gave up more than 25 points to an opponent.
They also failed to record a turnover for the second straight game, while the offense have given up four turnovers on two interceptions and two fumbles. Three of those turnovers came last night against the Baltimore Ravens.
Even more concerning is just how little pressure the Steelers were able to generate against quarterback Joe Flacco, who had a crisp, clean pocket for most of the night on his 29 pass attempts, of which he completed 21.
Between pass rushers such as Jason Worilds, Jarvis Jones, Cameron Heyward, and Brett Keisel, they all failed to register a single sack. Even with less than ideal pressure against the Browns on Sunday, they still managed three sacks.
The Steelers offense, meanwhile, gave up two more sacks—more specifically, Marcus Gilbert gave up two more sacks.
He is responsible for five of the six sacks that Ben Roethlisberger has taken through the first two games. There was a third sack early in the game that was waved off because of a roughing the passer penalty.
But I digress, because this is about the defensive woes, and not the offense.
Much like the offense at the beginning of last season, we came into this year with the understanding that it would take time for this defense to grow into itself.
The Steelers are asking rookie Ryan Shazier to start from day one at inside linebacker, while second-year outside linebacker Jones started eight games as a rookie.
Meanwhile, Cam Thomas and Mike Mitchell were free agent pickups this year adjusting to a new defensive scheme. And when Thomas is eventually shuffled out of the starting lineup, he could be supplanted by Stephon Tuitt, another rookie.
Oh, and Lawrence Timmons is evidently having greater difficulty adjusting to the signal-calling buck linebacker responsibilities than anticipated.
And yet the Steelers only allowed Flacco about 5.7 yards per pass attempt, which is a number that Dick LeBeau said that he likes to hit.
He also said that he would like to be around 3.7 yards per carry, however, and the Steelers fell short of that goal, exacerbated late with the game out of reach with a couple of additional gashing runs.
But yards per play are meaningless when you let opponents paper cut you to death on drives that end in points. The offense put up enough points to let the defense get away with it in the opener, but as we saw last night, it won’t be a weekly occurrence.