It happened again. Another week, another dominant front seven performance by the Pittsburgh Steelers and another late flurry of receptions by an inferior opponent. The wins are stacking up for Pittsburgh, but the heart stopping finishes are mirroring the win column.
Week five in review: Philadelphia Eagles 29 -38 Pittsburgh Steelers
Travis Fulgham and Carson Wentz combined for 152 yards and a TD against the shellshocked Steelers secondary that seemed to be forgetting the 6’2″ receiver was a threat. Fulgham had a big fantasy day but let’s talk about a HUGE fantasy day and wax lyrical about rookie Chase Claypool.
The rise of Pittsburgh’s Mapletron
The former Fighting Irish put up 40+ fantasy points in nearly all formats and was denied a fifth TD by a questionable offensive PI call. I use the term questionable because I’m a professional and can’t just say it was the worst PI call i’ve seen in a few years. Whoops.
Ben Roethlisberger and Claypool exploited positive match ups with linebackers all day and the rookie was able to feast. The Eagles linebackers were overmatched with the Canadian nightmare and the Steelers are now flush with offensive options.
As I mentioned in our Skewed perspective round up, Claypool looks like the real deal and yet another hit at the position from the Steelers front office. One particular positive from his first five weeks? His speed with the ball in his hands and the increased ability to seperate.
Yes, he put in an amazing combine performance. He ran a 4.42 and looked like the combine warrior of the 2020 draft class. But Claypool looks to have slimmed down from his college days. He’s currently listed at 228lbs; he was 233lbs and above in college and it’s created an extra step with the ball in his hands. Couple this with a knack for finding holes in zones and exploiting his positive match ups, and you have a big play receiver in Pittsburgh…again.
Front to back – the Pittsburgh Steelers pass defense must improve
The Steelers now have 20 sacks on the season and if they continue, are pace for about 80 sacks. Having already spent their “bye”. That’s impressive production and doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon. T.J. Watt looked like he picked up a knock late in the game, which would be a worrying development for the secondary, who rely on the pass rush to get home. The defensive line is dominant through large stretches of the games and controls the fate of the Steelers more often than not. Besides a big play from Miles Sanders, the run defense has remained solid. That run was a missed tackle clinic though so let’s relive it:
However, allowing the Eagles to convert 10 of 14 third downs with a depleted receiving corps was disappointing. The Steelers Depot give a great play by play breakdown from the DB’s here, but the general premise is this: teams are now actively avoided throwing at Minkah Fitzpatrick and targeting the Pittsburgh Steelers in zone coverage. Joe Haden looks to be a step slower when breaking – which is understandable, and Mike Hilton is prone to mistakes. All this combines to create a certain sense of unease when the game is on the line.
The Cleveland Browns vs the Pittsburgh Steelers looks to be an offensive explosion for the first time in years. The weapons that Cleveland has vs the issues that Pittsburgh has match up well. I, for one, am looking forward to the first legitimate challenge the Browns are planning to put forth in years.
Next week: Browns look to raise some hell…mets against the Steelers
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.