Things haven’t been going well for the Pittsburgh Steelers, that’s for sure.
After an offseason filled with big changes and a general transition to a new era from the front office and on the roster at large, the Steelers are off to a rather poor start midway through the 2022 season, sitting at 2-6 a year with very little going right.
Veteran free-agent signee Mitch Trubisky was benched three and a half games into the season, rookie first-rounder Kenny Pickett hasn’t played well since, star outside linebacker TJ Watt was out late in Week 1 with an injury and has it haven’t done since played, and the league’s highest-paid defense can’t seem to get stops or force turnovers without him.
That doesn’t even begin to affect the offensive struggles overall with the running game, inability to score, the endless penalties and the worrying number of turnovers the team experiences when it comes to football.
It all resulted in a D+ rating from CBS Sports’ Jeff Kerr on Thursday as he rated all 32 teams in the NFL at the halfway point of the 2022 season. Unsurprisingly, this is one of Kerr’s lowest grades in the NFL and the lowest grade of any team in the AFC North.
“It’s hard to expect much from the Steelers as TJ Watt’s injury changed the course of their season. Defense has the fewest sacks in the league since Watt went down in Week 1, making for a secondary that can’t stop anyone,” Kerr wrote for CBS Sports Thursday morning. “The offensive is no better. Pittsburgh has already gone through a quarterback swap from Mitchell Trubisky to Kenny Pickett and the results have not been any better. This is the product of an outdated offensive game plan and a poor offensive line.
“The Steelers have talent, but they still play hard and cause problems for teams under Mike Tomlin. They will be a torment to opponents in the second half, regardless of their record.”
When Watt went down late in the fourth quarter of the Week 1 overtime win over the Cincinnati Bengals, it changed the course of the season significantly.
With Watt on the field, the Steelers’ defense looked unbeatable in 2022, collecting seven sacks and forcing five turnovers in the season-opening win. Since then, they’ve been a mess, failing to stop late in games, force turnovers or generally come off the field while also uncovering a questionable cornerback depth chart.
Add in the offensive issues and it’s no surprise this team is 2-6.
The 2022 season has been largely a failure so far, there’s no denying that. Good news is that the Steelers come off a Week 9 bye rested and relatively healthy and have a chance to get back to basics and fundamentals on both sides of football – along with Watt’s return – the Steelers could make some noise in second half against a lighter schedule than the one they dealt with earlier in the season.