We learned and reaffirmed several things in the Steelers throttling of the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday afternoon. The first of which, the Steelers are a decent football team.
There were some questions coming out of the loss on opening night about the validity of this team. There shouldn’t be any longer, they’re a good team.
We learned that this offense is as good as advertised. Big Ben carved up the 49er secondary like it was Thanksgiving Turkey. He passed for nearly 400 yards, three touchdowns and he connected with Antonio Brown for 195 yards and a score.
We learned Heath Miller still has plenty in the tank. His numbers may not reflect that, but he was Ben’s security blanket when needed. We learned that Darrius Heyward-Bey has some ability. He was a good deep threat for the black and gold on Sunday and caught more balls vs. the 49ers than he did all of 2014. If he can play at that level, the team will be even more dynamic than we initially thought.
We learned that the offensive line is pretty solid, they didn’t allow the 49ers to get anywhere near the franchise quarterback. They can only improve with the return or Maurkice Pouncey later this season.
We reaffirmed the offense is going to be scary when LeVeon Bell and Martavis Bryant return. Adding those two playmakers to the mix is going to make this team nearly impossible to stop.
DeAngelo Williams confirmed that he’s an excellent backup for Bell as he put up another 77 yards and 3 scores.
Defensively we learned that the Steel Curtain isn’t dead just yet. Many pundits claimed after last weeks’ loss to the Patriots that the Steel Curtain was ‘dead’. Utterly ridiculous to claim such a thing after one game. It would be utterly ridiculous for me to proclaim it’s alive and well after just one outing against the 49ers too but what I will state is it’s not gone just yet. Keith Butler had his men ready to play and boy did they. The pressure they put on Colin Kapernick was fantastic. They were in the backfield all day long.
We learned that Bud Dupree should probably start over Ryan Moats, he’s had 2 sacks in 2 games so far. We learned that Stephon Tuitt can play defensive end really well and is a good guy to be starting on the opposite side of Cam Heyward. We really learned that Ryan Shazier is a manimal. Yes, manimal. He put up 15 tackles and was all over the field, claiming this to be the best game of his NFL career to date and who’s to argue with him.
But with all the good, we did also reaffirm one bad. The secondary isn’t good. It might be masked by a 25 point victory but they were torched. They allowed well over 300 yards passing and this was with all the pressure the front seven were getting. Imagine if the backers and ends didn’t get into the backfield?
If the secondary doesn’t improve by leaps and bounds, that just might be the unit that costs this team from going to very special places. They have 14 games to go and time to improve. But at the moment, that unit is the Achilles heel.
As long as the offense does what it can and the front seven on defense do what they can, they can go far but if they have an off day at the wrong time, the secondary is going to cost them.
We learned this team is really good but we reaffirmed they aren’t great just yet.
NEWS, NOTES and STATS:
Big Ben tied Terry Bradshaw for most wins by a Steeler QB.
Antonio Brown extended his streak of games with at least 5 receptions and 50 yards receiving, all in the first half.
LeVeon Bell returns this week vs. the Rams.