Steelers Receive A D+ Grade From CBS Sports At Midway Mark Of 2022 Season

Things have not gone well to date for the Pittsburgh Steelers, that much is certain.

After an offseason filled with major changes and overall transition into a new era from in the front office and on the roster overall, the Steelers find themselves off to a rather poor start halfway through the 2022 season, sitting at 2-6 on the year with very little having gone right.

Veteran free agent signee Mitch Trubisky was benched three and a half games into the season, rookie first round pick Kenny Pickett has not played well in the action since, star outside linebacker T.J. Watt went down late in Week 1 with an injury and hasn’t played since, and the league’s highest paid defense seemingly can’t get stops or force turnovers without him.

That doesn’t even begin to hit on the offensive struggles overall with the run game, the inability to score points, the endless penalties and the concerning number of turnovers the team is experiencing when possessing the football.

All of that led to a D+ grade from CBS Sports’ Jeff Kerr Thursday when assessing all 32 teams in the NFL at the halfway point of the 2022 season. Unsurprisingly, that’s one of the lowest grades in the NFL from Kerr, and the lowest grade of any team in the AFC North.

“Hard to expect much out of the Steelers, as the T.J. Watt injury changed the trajectory of their season. The defense has the fewest sacks in the league since Watt went down in Week 1, which is affecting a secondary that can’t stop anyone,” Kerr writes for CBS Sports Thursday morning. “The offense isn’t any better. Pittsburgh already went through a quarterback change from Mitchell Trubisky to Kenny Pickett and the results haven’t been better. This is a product of a stale offensive game plan and a poor offensive line. 

“There’s talent on the Steelers, but they still play hard and give teams a problem under Mike Tomlin. They’ll be a pain for opponents in the second half, regardless of their record.”

Once Watt went down late in the fourth quarter of the Week 1 overtime win over the Cincinnati Bengals, it largely changed the trajectory of the season.

With Watt on the field, the Steelers defense in 2022 looked unbeatable, racking up seven sacks and forcing five turnovers in the season-opening win. Since then, they’ve been a mess, failing to get stops late in games, force turnovers or get off the field in general, all while exposing a questionable cornerback depth chart.

Add in the issues with the offense and it’s no surprise this team is 2-6.

The 2022 season has been largely a failure to this point, there is no denying that. Good news is, coming out of a Week 9 bye week rested, relatively healthy and having a chance to get back to the basics and fundamentals on both sides of the football — along with the return of Watt — the Steelers could make some noise in the second half against a lighter schedule than the one they dealt with in the early portion of the season.

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