Where do I begin to explain what we just saw?
Ideally, I should be talking about how brilliant the Pittsburgh Steelers played—or to be more specific, the brilliance of the Steelers' defense.
Let's think about this for a bit. When your defense registers seven sacks, four interceptions, and a blocked punt, generally that team ends up winning, correct?
However, when that unit stays on the field longer than it should during the course of a game, it can only mean disaster. Unfortunately, this was the experience for the defense in this game. In addition to losing linebacker Alex Highsmith at one point, defensive lineman Cameron Heyward was limited in overtime due to injury, cornerback Levi Wallace left the game with an ankle injury, and rookie defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal had his own injury episode during the overtime frame.
Above all of the injuries sustained by the team in this game, the absolute worst was sustained by linebacker TJ Watt; an All-Pro, Defensive Player of the Year, and arguably the team's heart and soul. This was no mere sprain; it was a torn pectoral, the type of injury that ends seasons. Now the Steelers have to face the reality of potentially playing the entire season without Watt on the opposite side of Highsmith, who looks poised to have a breakout year after his performance in this game.
The aspect of this game that made the least sense was the Steelers' offense. After all the moves they made this offseason, which included bringing in a new starting quarterback, drafting a quarterback, signing offensive linemen, and drafting receivers; how is it possible that this problematic unit could look worse than the year before? I know what many of you are thinking; Ben Roethlisberger is no longer there to lead them. I don't believe his absence is the problem. This unit's inability to put together reasonable drives in the game almost led to their demise; unfortunately, it was the defense that suffered the most as they spent an excessive amount of time on the field.
As for Mitch Trubisky, if what he showed today is indicative of the type of quarterback he is going to be, then they are better off switching to rookie Kenny Pickett. Simply put, he looked shaky in the pocket and was inefficient overall. What is more troubling about his performance is that the offensive line actually played a decent game. While it was not an oil painting, they gave Trubisky enough time in the pocket and surrendered just one sack. Admittedly, the run offense was bad in every sense. When a receiver has more rushing yards than your starting running back, that is a reason to be concerned.
In essence, I am someone that tries to keep the glass half full when it comes to this team. The reality is that the Steelers' struggles are just beginning. With Watt likely gone for a large amount of time, this team can no longer rely on their defence to continuously bail them out. This is an opportunity for the offense to define themselves and become the foundation of this team's success. In today's NFL, it is offense that eventually takes you farther than what a defensive unit was once able to do. Thankfully, the season is just beginning and anything can happen.