If it wasn’t for Antonio Brown’s spectacular day on Sunday, the Steelers could be going into Week 2 with a loss. Le’Veon Bell’s role was limited, Martavis Bryant couldn’t catch, and the offensive line was dominated all day in the run game. So, how will the offense turn things around this week when they face a much better team and defense in the Minnesota Vikings?
First things first, the offensive line has to play better. 35 rushing yards is far from adequate for the Steelers, especially when they are facing the worst team in the NFL last season. Now, the blame isn’t solely on the offensive line, Bell played a limited role and didn’t make superior plays when his name was called. The Vikings are a better team against the run than the Browns are, making Pittsburgh’s task this week a bit difficult. With Le’Veon’s role expanded and the offensive line cutting down on the holding penalties, I expect the Steelers to break the century mark in total rushing yards.
The Steelers passing game started off the season on a bright note, thanks again to Brown, who accompanied for 69% of the teams receiving yards. Another highlight that shocked many Steelers fans, due to Mike Tomlin’s comment of not being ‘varsity enough’, was Jesse James’s 2 touchdown day. Ben Roethlisberger found a go to man in the redzone in James week 1, but we’ll see if this connection will spill over to the rest of the season. Bryant’s lack of production is a cause for concern. He finished the day with 6 targets, 2 drops, and 2 receptions for 14 yards. The Steelers expect more from him as the team’s number 2 receiver and he’ll need to deliver this week, because the Vikings were the 3rd best pass defense in the NFL last season. I expect Big Ben to take more vertical shots downfield to keep the Vikings defense on their toes and potential open up the running game.
TJ Watt and the Steelers defense lead the show week 1, look for Big Ben to take back his thrown this week in the team’s home opener against the Vikings.
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