With two straight losses in frustrating, ugly fashion, the plummet continues for the Pittsburgh Steelers in NFL power rankings across the NFL media landscape.
After riding high following a Week 1 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on the road in overtime, the Steelers have sunk like a lead balloon in the last two weeks following losses to the New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns, falling three spots in the latest NFL.com Power Rankings from Dan Hanzus to No. 26 overall, barely ahead of the Chicago Bears, who might have an even worse offense than the Steelers.
Not only is the offense in Pittsburgh struggling to produce much of anything at the moment, the defense is struggling to get stops late in games, which can go hand in hand with the offense not sustaining drives and putting the defense back onto the field for an absurd number of snaps each and every week.
Still, the focus comes back to the offense and especially the quarterback in today’s NFL. As NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus writes, Mitch Trubisky just hasn’t been good enough.
“It’s not that Mitch Trubisky was bad on Thursday Night Football against the Browns. He really wasn’t. It’s just that the veteran’s ceiling is so low that it turns the Steelers offense into a sports car trying to win a race with a restrictor plate affixed to the engine,” Hanzus writes regarding the Steelers’ ranking at No. 26 overall. “That’s a problem, because the Pittsburgh defense isn’t a difference-maker without T.J. Watt’s enormous presence. Trubisky’s ceiling and the torn pectoral that will keep Watt out for several more weeks is a bad combo that leaves a razor-thin margin of error every week for Mike Tomlin’s team.”
That’s pretty much a spot-on take from Hanzus when it comes to the Steelers at the moment. It’s not that Trubisky has been bad, per se, it’s just that he hasn’t elevated the Steelers’ offense like many believed he would be able to just by stepping into second-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s scheme, in which he was perceived as a better fit than Ben Roethlisberger a year ago.
Three games into the season and there are clear signs that Trubisky is a sound fit for the scheme stylistically, but the avoiding of the middle of the field, the lack of consistency on deep shots and the general struggles overall in the passing game are making it rather hard for the Steelers’ offense to get out of first gear far too often.
Unable to do much of anything offensively, the Steelers have put the defense in a bit of a bind, causing their defense to be on the field for 239 snaps so far on the season, which leads the NFL, as well as 113:28 of game time through three games. That’s unsustainable, even if T.J. Watt were healthy.
With two straight losses, the Steelers are staring down a get-right game against the New York Jets in Week 4 before a serious gauntlet of games with matchups against Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Miami and Philadelphia before the bye week — all teams that rank inside the top 10 of the power rankings from Hanzus.