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49ers give Steelers a reality check after 30-7 win in Week 1

The Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers are the furthest thing from common rivals. The NFC West vs. AFC North matchup in Pittsburgh, PA marked a huge game on the Week 1 slate of games. Despite these two teams not being familiar with the other, storylines were evident throughout both teams.

No storyline was bigger than the quarterback position for both the Steelers and 49ers. Two quarterbacks selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. That would be Kenny Pickett and Brock Purdy. Which quarterback would outduel the other? On the defensive side, there was another matchup fans were excited to see. The past two Defensive Players of the Year, T.J. Watt and Nick Bosa, preparing to try and best the other.

After the opening coin toss, the Steelers elected to take the ball and put their offense on the field first. However, the offense wasn’t able to even muster a first down before punting the ball away to the 49ers. Starting near midfield, the 49ers converted on a 4th and short and started to find a rhythm. The drive ended with a Purdy touchdown pass to Brandon Aiyuk to make the score 7-0 with 9:29 left in the first quarter.

Looking for an answer, the Steelers took a shot down the sideline intended for Diontae Johnson. Johnson, like so many players in this game, slipped and the pass was intercepted on 3rd down. The turnover gave San Francisco the ball on the Pittsburgh side of midfield. Unlike the first drive, the 49ers had to settle for a 41-yard Jake Moody field goal to make the score 10-0.

With 4:38 left in the first quarter, and the Steelers offense not able to even get a first down at this point, the unfortunate trend continued with another 3-and-out. The 49ers next drive started at the 32, and ended in a common fashion. Another touchdown to Aiyuk made the score 17-0 in the early portion of the 2nd quarter.

More offensive ineptitude on the Steelers behalf gave the ball right back to the 49ers, and the Purdy-led offense knew exactly what to do with the great field position. The 49ers put points up with every drive they had in the first half, and the latest was another Moody field goal to make the score 20-0.

The Pittsburgh offensive failures continued, but it took until the waning minutes of the half before the Steelers defense forced a punt. Starting at their own 5-yard line, the Steelers put together a 95-yard drive which was capped off with a Kenny Pickett to Pat Freiermuth touchdown pass.

Chris Boswell’s extra point was good, making the score 20-7 heading into halftime.

Following the touchback, it took just two plays before the 49ers struck again. This time it was Christian McCaffrey for 65 yards and the touchdown. In the blink of an eye, it was 27-7, completely negating the Steelers touchdown at the end of the first half.

Pressley Harvin’s active day continued when the next Steelers drive failed to produce points, but the Steelers defense answered the bell and forced a punt of their own. The 49ers second drive of the game ended quickly when T.J. Watt sacked Purdy, forced a fumble, and recovered the fumble himself.

Coming off the turnover, Pittsburgh’s offense faced a 4th and 4 just outside the 10-yard line, and this time Mike Tomlin’s gamble didn’t pay off. Kenny Pickett’s pass intended for Freiermuth missed badly, and it was a turnover on downs.

The 49ers were unable to turn the possession into points, and when the Steelers got the ball back it was a two-minute drill pace for the duration of the game. Pickett’s second interception of the game gave the ball right back to the 49ers. The extra possession turned into another Moody field goal, making the score 30-7.

That score would hold as the final, ending a game which was more one-sided than the score might indicate.

The loss moves the Steelers record to 0-1 as they now prepare for a prime time home game vs. the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football in Week 2. Be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers after this debilitating loss.

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