The Pittsburgh Steelers gave Eric Ebron a two-year contract in free agency averaging $6 million per season. So far, he has four catches on seven targets for 61 yards through the first two games of his tenure with the team. Needless to say, the manner in which they intend to work him into the offense remains an ongoing and evolving process, even while he has played 90 snaps.
Ebron caught three passes on Sunday against the Denver Broncos, including a 21-yarder. He also had gains of 15 and 7 yards, though the latter came on 3rd and 9. The other two plays came on first and 10.
The 3rd-and-9 play was part of the problem with the offense on Sunday, however, as the Steelers only converted twice on third down on 12 opportunities. They then tried two fourth-down conversions, managing to convert one of them, but they were also one-for-three in the red zone (more accurately one-for-two, because that includes the final possession, on which they were not trying to score).
“We can improve drastically. We kept that game way too close for an offensive firepower, the way we have it”, Ebron said after the game. “We were making way too many silly mistakes. We were beating ourselves”.
“Again, we can’t harp on and try to be so hard on each other, because at the same time, we are dealing with a limited amount of time, and offenses usually take so much time to gel and click”, he went on. “Usually you don’t see that for a certain amount of years, or towards the end of the season when offenses really start putting together dominance. We’ve just got to continue to put it together. Yeah, we scored 26 points, but we should have had way more”.
The offense did fare well on paper, at least, Ben Roethlisberger completed 29 of 41 pass attempts for 311 yards with two touchdown passes and an interception. James Conner rushed for 106 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown, with two receptions for 15 yards. Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool combined for 180 receiving yards on 11 receptions with two touchdowns.
The game is not played on paper, however, and watching the game would have left any knowledgeable viewer with the impression that there remains much room for improvement. The good news is that they have been winning in spite of the kinks that they have to work out.
Next up is the Houston Texans, who are coming into Pittsburgh in an 0-2 hole that they haven’t been quite used to lately. They’ll be hungry and looking for a win after taking losses from arguably the two best teams in football in the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens.