Though it’s hardly a surprise, the Pittsburgh Steelers are essentially a bottom-third team in NFL.com’s latest power rankings, falling from #12 to #20 after Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Writer Dan Hanzus explains, though it hardly needs one, what’s led to their fall.
“We learned just how much T.J. Watt means to the Steelers’ defense on Sunday. Pittsburgh entered its matchup against the Bengals with a sack in an NFL-record 75 straight regular season games. As Watt watched from the sideline with an injured groin, the Steelers’ streak was unceremoniously halted by a pedestrian Cincinnati line that had struggled to keep Joe Burrow upright a week before against the Bears. While the defense sputtered, the offense remained stuck in neutral. This was particularly apparent on an 18-play, 88-yard, nine-minute drive that ended with a field goal in the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh was still down 24-10 after the Chris Boswell kick, with a chunk of the second half now lost for good. The Steelers have big problems on offense with no easy solutions.”
That last line – big problems on offense with no easy solutions – rings truest of all. An offense without an identity, hardly any strength, and one that’s been as bad as any dating back to the last half of last season. If you want a stat that blows your mind and sums up how poor this offense is, the offense hasn’t recorded a single point since Week 10 of last season.
The only points they’ve scored are Joe Haden’s pick-six against Baltimore in Week 12 and even then, Chris Boswell’s extra point was no good.
Pittsburgh’s path to get back on track doesn’t get any easier in Week 4 versus a red-hot Green Bay Packers team, who turned things around after an ugly opening blowout to New Orleans. In Hanzus’ power rankings, he has the Packers third in the league, up three spots from a week ago. Being on the road won’t do the Steelers any favors though if there’s a silver lining, the Steelers have walked away victorious their last two trips to Lambeau Field, winning in 2005 and 2015. Of course, those teams are much different than the 2021 version and the Steelers will need a big turnaround to avoid a 1-3 start.
The top team in NFL.com’s power rankings are the undefeated Los Angeles Rams, knocking off Tom Brady and the Bucs this past weekend. At the bottom are the hapless New York Jets. Pittsburgh is last in the AFC North behind Baltimore (#5), Cleveland (#8), and Cincinnati (#19).