Pittsburgh Steelers 26 – 16 New York Giants
There are hundreds of well written, in depth pieces flying around about week one in the NFL right now. And I mean it when I say: read as many of them as you can! But I know you’re busy. So here’s some flash card style takeaways from the Steelers week one win over the New York Football Giants.
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1. Hello, Pittsburgh? We have an offense!
After a quarter of stuttering drives and a run game that was going nowhere against a surprisingly stout Giants front seven; it was good to see Ben Roethlisberger get back into the groove.
He connected with JuJu twice and James Washington on touchdown strikes, and looked like a decent version of the Ben Steelers fans remember. He posted a 21/32, 229 yards and three TD’s stat line, with contributions from all four of his key targets – and a special grab from the rookie Chase Claypool.
Ben looked a little hesitant through the first half, but once Diontae Johnson got back in rhythm and swallowed up consistent targets, he visibly relaxed. If the offense can keep humming without James Conner in the backfield and some offensive line shuffling, the Steelers look to be in business.
Speaking of which – Johnson had 10 targets through the game and routinely showed his elite level quickness off the line. The offense may play well through his short explosive routes to work down the field (coupled with chunk plays from Claypool and Washington) and then utilise JuJu’s redzone ability.
2. Conner injured once more
In what has become a bittersweet stint in Pittsburgh, hometown favourite James Conner once again left the game injured. He looked sluggish and found little room to work before the injury, and was replaced by a more than capable Benny Snell (19/113). According to Sleeper, he avoided significant injury, but does he win the job back from the former Wildcat?
Snell doesn’t offer you elite quickness or a stop/start explosive running style, but he proved a nightmare to bring down on first contact (60 yards after first contact) and routinely found small creases to exploit.
3. Rookies get some snaps
Snap counts are tough to read into in week one. Let alone a week one with no preseason. But the debuts of rookies Alex Highsmith and Chase Claypool showed enough promise to increase their roles in the coming weeks. Behindthesteelcurtain.com provided some great insight into the snap counts on defense (left hand column) and special teams (right hand column) for the defense and others.
4. The defense looked elite
The Steelers defense was outstanding last season, finishing top of the pile in several key categories, and they didn’t miss a beat against a frisky Giants passing attack.
The group finished with three sacks, 21 QB pressures and two interceptions on the day, with key performances by T.J. Watt, Cam Heyward and Devin Bush. Despite giving up a long TD to Darius Slayton over the middle, the secondary performed well in general. Daniel Jones didn’t have time to operate, and was hassled into the second interception by a relentless Bud Dupree.
More stats but impressive ones: 11 tackles for a loss, eight QB hits and the D held Saquon Barkley to six total rushing yards. Not a bad outing for the 2020 Steelers defense.
Next up: the Denver Broncos. Are the Steelers a…lock…to win?
Jack is an NFL nerd with a passion for player stories and watching too much draft coverage. He's a DB coach with the Exeter Demons University team in the UK and a Steelers fan.