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Steelers Need to Play Complementary Football

All sides of the ball lost Week 2 for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

A good portion of the blame from Sunday's loss has gone to the Pittsburgh Steelers offense. That's certainly fair and difficult to argue otherwise. Aside from the second half of the Bills game, they have yet to provide this team with any consistency in moving the football. However, the defense is not totally blameless in defeat despite dealing with a handful of very costly injuries to some of their more impactful players. 

The Steelers went into Sunday's matchup without Joe Haden and Devin Bush. They also lost others in the battle, as well. T.J. Watt and Tyson Alualu both exited the game and did not return. This Raiders offense is humming and seems to be much better than anyone anticipated. Excluding the first quarter field goal set up solely due to a short field after an interception, they only allowed 23 points on the day. By no means is that an awful performance, but they lacked splash as they forced zero turnovers. 

The biggest critique of this unit comes down to not playing complementary football. If you've ever listened to a Mike Tomlin presser, you have heard that this is something he preaches every single day. The Steelers' offense didn't compliment their defense by their inability to consistently sustain drives. The Steelers' defense didn't compliment their offense by allowing points immediately after a successful scoring drive from their offense. 

On the second drive of the second quarter, the Steelers' offense finally showed some life, marching 75 yards for a touchdown in just seven plays. Immediately after that, the Raiders offense had a 13 play, 53-yard drive that ended up in a field goal after several red zone penalties from Las Vegas. Credit to the defense for holding in the red zone but getting off the field quicker here would have allowed Roethlisberger to work a two-minute drill before the half. It didn't help matters that Vegas also got the second-half kickoff to work with following this drive. 

The Steelers offense would then struggle again in the third quarter before finally putting together another touchdown drive early in the fourth. Just five plays later, Derek Carr would hit Henry Ruggs for a 61-yard touchdown. Minkah Fitzpatrick made a very uncharacteristic mistake by getting caught out of position and Carr threw a perfect ball right over top of him. This score felt like a dagger in the heart of everyone at Heinz Field. 

To follow that up later in the fourth quarter, the offense would just barely get into field goal range. A record-breaking kick from Chris Boswell would again pull them one score. The Steelers defense needed a stop here if they had any chance of completing the comeback. Unfortunately, they didn't get one. Carr hit another explosive play down the field to Darren Waller that was followed up by a 13-yard run from Peyton Barber. From there, they were in field goal range and were able to run out almost all of what was left on the clock. Getting off the field earlier here would have meant that Roethlisberger would have had a chance for a game-winning drive late in the fourth. We have seen that movie before and it's usually got a happy ending for Pittsburgh fans.  

Overall, the Steelers just failed to execute and play complementary football, and that's a big reason they now sit at 1-1. The defense will get healthier, and there's no reason to believe that they won't be one of the league's best. There's simply too much talent. As for the offense, they have a host of problems to solve and it would be nice to see them find some answers starting Sunday when they face off against Cincinnati. 

Derrick Bell is a contributor with AllSteelers. Follow Derrick on Twitter @derrick_daKidD, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.

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