One of the huge surprises from Sunday’s action was the Steelers’ opening day loss at the hands of the Tennessee Titans. It was a very Steeler-esque game, but at the end of the day, it was the Titans that had the upper hand.
The Steelers’ defense actually did its part in the 16 to 9 loss. The Titans were unable to move the ball consistently, but they were able to do just enough to get the job done. The Steelers’ offense, by contrast, was nothing short of awful.
A big reason for those shortcomings was Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey being lost, probably for the entire season, in the first quarter with an ACL and MCL injury. In his place, Kelvin Beachum, a 7th round pick from a year ago, took over, and the results were lackluster to say the least.
Without Pouncey, the Steelers mustered just 32 yards on the ground, a low total by any NFL team’s standards, but especially low for a team trying to get back to a bruising rushing attack. Ben Roethlisberger never got the Steelers’ passing attack off the ground either, throwing for less than 200 yards.
In addition to their offensive woes, the Steelers lost linebacker Larry Foote to a ruptured biceps, likely sidelining him for the rest of the year.
An opening day loss isn’t the end of the world, but the Steelers are just one game into the year, and they’ve apparently lost two high-impact players, and with Pouncey’s injury, the team will once again be playing with a crippled offensive line.
To be fair here, every team in the AFC North lost in the opening week of the season. The difference between the other three teams in the division and the Steelers is the other teams know exactly where they stand. Ben Roethlisberger had believed he was playing behind the best offensive line he’d seen in his NFL career. Now, it appears, that isn’t the case from here on out.
Still, the Steelers are used to dealing with offensive line injuries, and if any team in the league can adapt to losing one of their big men, it’s the Steelers. Only time will tell if losing Pouncey was too big of a blow to absorb by the team.
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