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Steelers Vs Eagles Winners And Losers

Winners and losers from the Pittsburgh Steelers 35-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday afternoon.

WINNERS

Chase Claypool/Derek Watt: It’s been a tough year for Matt Canada and this Steelers’ offense. While this unit certainly wasn’t good, you have to give credit for a fun 4th and Goal call, a jet-looking run that Chase Claypool southpaw’d to FB Derek Watt. Canada doesn’t like trick plays but the Steelers were desperate for points and that was a solid call.

Pat Freiermuth: Reaching for winners today. Freiermuth made a couple of downfield plays, including a 21-yard catch on a nice nod route and generally found space against the Eagles’ zone coverage today. On another lowly day for this offense and team, we’ll grade on the curve and give Freiermuth the spot here.

Jaylen Warren: Not an amazing statistical day but he ran hard, kept fighting, and continues to be a bowling ball of energy that earned his roster spot. Have to wonder if he will become a de facto starter. Some of his stats came in garbage time but the run game is just better when he’s in there.

LOSERS

Ahkello Witherspoon: Witherspoon quickly was sent back to where he came. The bench. Playing his first game since Week 3, Witherspoon failed to make it to halftime, replaced by James Pierre at LCB in the 2nd quarter. A.J. Brown torched Witherspoon for two touchdowns. Witherspoon has never been a consistent player, although he has the physical tools to match up against someone like Brown. He struggled at the catch point and flailed on the second score he allowed. In injury and play, it’s been an ugly season for Witherspoon.

The secondary overall was poor today. Pittsburgh hasn’t blown many coverages but Cam Sutton and Terrell Edmunds both covered the the screen early in the second half, opening up WR Zach Pascal wide open for Jalen Hurts’ fourth TD of the day.

Discipline: Eight first-half penalties. Two illegal formations on the offense, one on special teams, a delay of game, and (another) ineligible downfield penalty. Things were a bit better in the second half but Nick Sciba still booted a ball out of bounds. It’s hard enough for Pittsburgh to win when they play clean and perfect. When they kick their own butt, they have no shot.

Offensive Line: Not much happening up front today. They were overwhelmed by a deep and talented Eagles’ defensive line, who ran games and stunts all day that kept Pittsburgh on their toes. Kenny Pickett’s going to feel this game in the morning, repeatedly hit and scrambling just to make something happen. Run blocking wasn’t any better with the line opening up zero lanes for Najee Harris, who posted another dud of a game, rushing four times for zero yards in the first half.

This was easily the line’s worst performance of the season. Watching it live, LT Dan Moore Jr. and LG Kevin Dotson seemed to struggle the most in pass protection, though we’ll need to check the All-22 for a deeper and better analysis.

Minkah Fitzpatrick: Fitzpatrick’s tackling was solid as always and sometimes I don’t want to put a guy on a list for just one play. But Fitzpatrick made a highly uncharacteristic play on the Eagles’ first TD, tracking but totally misplaying a throw Jalen Hurts made into double-coverage. Brown came away with the TD and got the party started for the Eagles.

The Steelers’ Season: After the Jets’ game, I wrote the Steelers’ season was effectively over. But a win today would’ve gotten the team to 3-5 and – in theory – a chance and path to climb into the playoff race on the other side of the bye. But with today’s loss, Pittsburgh falls to 2-6 and you can officially stick a fork in this team. Only one time in history has a 2-6 club made the playoffs, the 2020 Washington Football Team who won he NFC East at a lowly 7-9. That won’t happen this year.

Najee Harris: The line didn’t open up much room for Harris today. But his style isn’t doing this run game any favors. With a line that doesn’t block well, Jaylen Warren is simply a better fit. More explosive, more downhill, and running with more power. Harris isn’t playing to his build. Nowhere was that more evident than on a 3rd and 2 reception in the second half that saw Harris dance around instead of sticking his foot in the ground and getting downhill. To state the very obvious, Harris has not had a good year.

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