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Defensive Takeaways: Steelers Weak Spots Showed in Loss to Raiders

No one's perfect, but the Pittsburgh Steelers sure seemed to be a week ago.

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers fell to the Las Vegas Raiders, but it wasn't on the defense. At least not most of it.

That being said, no one was perfect in Week 2. The Steelers struggled to contain a flashy Raiders offense and found themselves with more injuries before the end of Sunday.

This group has areas they need to figure out. Not many of them, but the weak spots are significant, and at times, they showed.

Week 2 gave us more defensive takeaways than many thought going into the game.

Robert Spillane Had Himself a Game

Devin Bush was missed as much as the rest of the injuries, but Robert Spillane didn't struggle like many imagined. The inside linebacker recorded 10 tackles on defense and special teams, and above anything, wasn't a liability in coverage.

Credit to defensive coordinator Keith Butler for not trying to force Spillane to go one-on-one with Darren Waller or any other Raiders skill player. Instead, he played a lot of middle zone, and he protected it well - enough.

There's more confidence in Spillane leaving the game than there was moving into it. It's hard to say whether or not this is a long-term injury for Bush, but if it is, Spillane should fill that gap just fine.

Stephon Tuitt Can't Return Soon Enough

The Steelers' defensive injuries are already pilling up as they were out five starters by the time Week 2 ended. Tyson Alualu is reportedly done for the year with an ankle fracture and Carlos Davis is dealing with a knee issue.

Chris Wormley has replaced Tuitt well at defensive end but relying on Isaiah Buggs and rookie Isaiahh Loudermilk to replace Alualu isn't sufficient.

The Steelers need Tuitt to get back in shape and recover from his knee injury. That's easier said than done, and no one is taking anything away from the tragic and terrible offseason he's had. If he is planning on returning to the field this season, though, the Steelers need it to be sooner rather than later.

James Pierre Struggled

Last week, Pierre had seven tackles in the team's win over the Buffalo Bills. At first glance, that's a good number, right? But once you start thinking, you realize Pierre let his receiver catch passes and that's how he got tackles.

In Week 2, he struggled. There were times he was completely off reading a route and let his wideout escape to the outside for an easy completion. There were others he seemed to be unable to keep up with the man across from him.

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Pierre has potential and the Steelers see that. Maybe there's a reason he didn't play significant time until the second half of Week 1, though. Or why they brought in Ahkello Witherspoon for support.

Tre Norwood Pulls Up and Costs Steelers

Norwood had a clean shot on Derek Carr on the Raiders' second-last drive of the ball game. He lined up at slot, took off into the backfield and should've had an easy sack on the most important drive of the game.

Instead, he slowed up as he got closer to Carr as if he was worried about causing a roughing the passer penalty. Granted, Carr was beginning his throwing motion, but Norwood had the time - and should've taken the shot.

That decision ended up costing the Steelers their comeback. Carr bombed the ball downfield, completing a 61-yard pass to Henry Ruggs for a touchdown.

At that moment, you realized the game was all but over. The loss isn't on Norwood, and you'll expect these plays from a seventh-round rookie, but a hit on Carr might change the whole outcome - penalty or not. 

Noah Strackbein is a Publisher with AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.

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