Steelers lose opener

Courtesy Pittsburgh Steelers

The Patriots took ten minutes of the 2019 season to confirm they would be strong contenders for Super Bowl LIV. Their second drive of seven plays moved the ball 82 yards and finished with Tom Brady’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Josh Gordon.

New England were back in business and added another two touchdowns and four field goals for their 33-3 win.

The Steelers put just three points on the board with the first possession of the second half. With a fourth and one on their opponents one-yard line, Coach Tomlin surprisingly settled for the field goal.

Already twenty points behind, it should have called for an attempt for a touchdown. It would not have changed the outcome, but it was an opportunity to provide the flagging offense with a spark they desperately needed.

Tomlin had taken a chance as the first half was winding down. With a fourth and one on the New England 47, Ben threw to Moncrief who dropped the ball as he was tackled. The Patriots scored a field goal on the short field they inherited.

The Steelers offense never exuded confidence. That was probably due to the excellent Patriots defense. Even the reliable Maurkice Pouncey was forced into an error under pressure from the Patriots front seven, throwing a low snap.

Coach Tomlin’s comment at the half, was “It’s not the scheme, it’s the quality of the execution.” True, the Steelers were not good on both sides of the ball, but preseason should have prepared them for this game.

Although there was nothing to smile about the Steelers performance, there was a touch of humour when the offensive line moved backwards together almost as if it was choreographed. The referee called the penalty on, “everyone except the center.”

The Steelers performance was no joke. Ben looked rusty and readers will be aware of my feelings on the lack of preseason snaps he takes. The defense that SteelerNation had been talking up so much is a work in progress so must be given time. In the NFL, that isn’t long.

JuJu was named the Digest Player of the Week. The player was well covered by Stephon Gilmore and Bob Labriola said judged against the team’s poor performance, “JuJu was somewhat productive. Smith-Schuster led the team with 78 yards receiving on six catches, and he also drew a 10-yard pass interference penalty. “

Time to move on and look forward to Sunday and the visit of the Seattle Seahawks who edged the Bengals 21-20.