The Pittsburgh Steelers lost their first game of the season against the Las Vegas Raiders, spoiling the fans' return to Heinz Field. However, they currently sit at 1-1, which is the same record as the other three teams in the division. They faced a tough schedule this far, and while that won't get any easier, it's not like the team has been blown away and looked out of place. Two tough games against tough teams and there's some reason for optimism even after a loss.
Najee Harris Looks Like the Real Deal
After a middling week one performance where he received little run blocking and wasn't utilized much in the passing game, Harris shined in week two.
The rushing numbers still leave a lot to be desired behind a struggling offensive line. However, it was in the passing game where Harris really made his impact this Sunday.
The rookie from Alabama turned a swing pass into a highlight reel after stiff-arming Raiders Safety Jonathan Abram. In the fourth quarter, he provided a splash play when the team needed it the most by taking a third down catch 25 yards all the way into the end zone.
There were times in week one where he seemed a little uncomfortable, but he looked like one of their best players on Sunday. That's very encouraging stuff from their first-round pick.
Roethlisberger Connected on Some Deep Shots
There weren't many highlights for the offense against the Raiders, but Ben Roethlisberger's deep ball was responsible for a few of them.
Most impressive was a drop in the bucket down the left sideline to Diontae Johnson, who played well through contact to stack the corner. Roethlisberger would then hit Chase Claypool down that same sideline later in the fourth quarter. Not surprising that both of these plays led to touchdowns.
While this offense isn't built nor capable of reverting back to the late 2000s Arians offense, it's nice to see them take shots when available. If teams are going to continue to sit back in single-high looks, take advantage of those matchups.
Melvin Ingram Still Has It
The former Charger has certainly been impressive throughout the first two weeks of the season. Ingram was able to register his first sack as a Pittsburgh Steeler after putting a nasty spin move on a Raiders tight end. That wasn't the only time he was in the backfield, as he registered five more pressures off the bench.
Ingram has put some extremely impressive displays of power on film as a pass rusher. It's hard to believe that a guy like this was available so late in the free agency period for the Steelers to acquire.
There was some concern about how effective he would be after dealing with injuries last season, but those concerns are vanishing quickly, if they haven't already.
The Defense Will Get Healthy
This is not intended to downplay the loss of Tyson Alualu by any means. The Steelers defense is dealing with a handful of minor injuries to some of its best players at the moment.
Good news is already on the horizon as Devin Bush was a full participant in both practices this week. Joe Haden joined him Thursday. While not full participants, T.J. Watt was limited and did more than just stand on the sidelines.
With Watt and Alex Highsmith both dealing with groin injuries, it's a nice luxury to have a guy like Melvin Ingram who can step up and be an impact player. This defense is going to be just fine once they get healthy. There are few units in the league with this amount of talent, especially upfront.
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