Just two games into the 2021 season, and the injuries are already piling up...at least they are on the defensive side of the ball.
Notice, how the Steelers offensive unit has yet to compile any major injuries (assuming Diontae Johnson's knee injury is not serious). Incredible, considering the number of hits Ben Roethlisberger took in this contest against the Las Vegas Raiders defense.
So why is this happening? What we have here, is the result of one unit having to constantly compensate for another's inability to produce at a reasonable level. An issue that has been the theme of the Steelers problems in the last few seasons.
This said, the defense is not blameless for this loss. The Raiders did a masterful job exploiting the middle, which was absent linebacker Devin Bush Jr. The secondary was seemingly more vulnerable to passes over the top with the absence of Joe Haden, notably on Henry Ruggs' touchdown in the 4th quarter. Lastly, the pass rush was missing its essence in TJ Watt, not to overlook the injury to Tyson Alualu as a factor.
All in all, this game was what many fans feared would happen when a team leans too much on one side of the ball. When injuries start to mount, your team is now in a state of limbo.
The question is, can the Steelers overcome this? The short answer is yes. Yet, getting to the solution this season will not be easy. For this team to have any semblance of success, the offense needs to elevate and do so quickly before it is too late. Perhaps it is an unreasonable request, considering the amount of youth they have on that unit. They need an offense that can win games when the defense is not at their best, such as this one.
The season is young, but the problems with this team are getting quite old. If this offense does not find a way to take the steps necessary to help win games, they could be in for a long and difficult season.