For Steelers fans, the 2023 regular season began in the worst way fashionable, as the San Francisco 49ers embarrassed them at home by a score of 27-7.
In reflection, the 49ers were a good measuring stick as to where this team is collectively. Based on what we saw this afternoon, they have a very long way to go.
What Did We Learn After Week 1?
There are levels to This
To make a long story short, this Steelers team simply is not on the same level as a team like the 49ers in any aspect. In this game, the team got beaten soundly in almost every way possible. Whether they were getting beaten in the trenches on both sides or the defense was getting abused up the middle by Brock Purdy and co., it was clear by the second quarter that they had no chance of stopping the 49ers attack. Can the Steelers get to this level? Well, they have the talent to be so; the question is whether the coaching is good enough.
The Steelers Offense Looked Awful
After watching the Steelers this preseason, one would have assumed that the offensive coordinator would let loose and put together the type of plays that would wow this crowd. Instead, we were treated with the same stuff: jet sweeps, predictable runs, little to no flow, and few explosive plays. To make matters worse, the supposed "improved" offense line was thoroughly abused by the 49ers defense line, most notably by Drake Jackson. For Chuks Okorafor, having to deal with Nick Bosa proved to be a hellacious task. As for Kenny Pickett, he looked shaky, which was surprising considering how poised and efficient he was in the preseason. The issues with the unit go beyond just Matt Canada, and they are going to have to work hard to solve them.
T.J Watt Is Amazing
The only positive to speak of in this game was the performance of T.J. Watt, who recorded three sacks. It almost seemed as if Watt was the only Steeler who was able to match the physicality and tenor of the 49ers; everyone else on defense did not play up to expectations.
They Were Simply Ill-Prepared
The overall performance of the Steelers on this day was an indictment of head coach Mike Tomlin. From the opening whistle, this team looked unfocused, undisciplined, and simply not ready to handle this caliber of team. For Tomlin, this has been the biggest criticism of him as a coach (aside from clock management late in games). If one were to be honest, this does not bode well for his long-term future, and one should not be surprised if he is already in the hot seat.