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It was an offensively-boring week for fans who love the Steelers and Pitt

Are you someone who considers yourself to be both a Steelers fan and a supporter of the Pitt Panthers college football team?

Are you also a huge fan of legendary rivalries? If so, you had to be going out of your mind with excitement, considering the fact that the Panthers were set to take on West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl Saturday night in Morgantown. Forty-eight hours after digesting that tasty appetizer, you would be served the main course of your football weekend: The Steelers and Browns at Acrisure Stadium on Monday Night Football.

Sadly, unless you like your food with no seasoning, the two games you consumed contained very little to savor when it comes to offensive football.

How many yards did Pitt produce vs. the Mountaineers on Saturday? Try 211. The Panthers gained a grand total of 12 first downs. They converted four of 13 third-down attempts. They were 0/2 on fourth down. The offense averaged 3.8 yards per play. Pitt quarterback Phil Jurkovec completed eight of his 20 passes for 81 yards and three interceptions. He also led the offense to zero touchdowns, as the Panthers fell, 17-6.

I know what you might be thinking. Did they call the game early due to a lightning strike? No, they played the whole four quarters. At least I think they did. I can’t say for sure since I decided to turn the thing off in the second half and watch Wedding Crashers on Max. You’re probably saying, “You turned the game off before it was over? I thought you were a huge fan. You sandbagging SOB!”

That’s right.

Jurkovec, who was booed loudly during the Panthers 28-21 loss to Cincinnati at Acrisure Stadium a week earlier, criticized those vocal fans by saying, “If you’re a grown-ass man booing, I think that’s pathetic.”  I agree with Jurkovec in theory. I’ve never been one to be all that critical of college athletes. But you know what grown-ass men can do when college quarterbacks are wetting the bed, Phil? We can change the channel, which I did on Saturday night.

How did the Steelers’ grown-ass offense perform against Cleveland on Monday evening? Try 255 total yards. Pittsburgh recorded nine whole first downs over four quarters. Three quarters, actually, considering the offense went a second-straight week without gaining one in the first period. The Steelers were four of 14 on third-down tries.

Furthermore, Pittsburgh averaged 4.8 yards per offensive attempt, didn’t run a single play in the red zone and actually lost seven yards in the fourth quarter.

And the Steelers still won, 26-22!

That’s right, but that was mostly due to linebacker Alex Highsmith, the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. Highsmith more than earned his new contract extension vs. the Browns. He intercepted Deshaun Watson on the first play from scrimmage and returned it for a touchdown. Late in the game, Highsmith stripped Watson of the football, and T.J. Watt returned the fumble for the game-winning points.

If you’re scoring at home, Highsmith and Watt were responsible for 14 points against Cleveland, while Kenny Pickett and Co. produced 12–including one touchdown and two field goals.

The Steelers tallied a mere seven points against the 49ers in Week 1, meaning the defense has five fewer points than the offense through two games and just as many touchdowns.

If you watched all 120 minutes of local football action over the weekend, you saw the Steelers and Pitt produce a combined 466 offensive yards, 21 first downs, one touchdown, four field goals and 18 points.

The fact that one of those teams managed to win is actually amazing, but it probably didn’t make your football feast taste any better.

You may have gotten lots of sleep, however.

Who needs Ambien when you can be put to bed by the type of offense that has been produced by the Steelers and Panthers so far in 2023?


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