Steelers Keys to Victory over the Raiders in Week 3
The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a winning performance in Week 2, a 26-22 win over the Cleveland Browns, and while it was the team’s first win, it was hardly pretty. The hope is there is a better performance on the horizon on Sunday Night Football in Week 3 when the Las Vegas Raiders.
What exactly do the Steelers need to do to claim their second victory of 2023? Let’s break it down in all three phases of the game…
Run the ball
The Steelers’ 48 yards per game on the ground ranks 31st in the league, and the Steelers’ offensive success will start, or end, with the team’s ability to establish the run. In the first two games of the season the Steelers’ plan was to throw the ball, and when it became ineffective they were forced to continue throwing to try and stay, or get back, in the game. The Steelers offense has to find creative ways of both utilizing their running backs, and the running game, to help take the pressure off Kenny Pickett and have a more balanced approach to the game plan.
3rd down offense
3rd downs have been a struggle for the Steelers this season, and even the short-yardage conversions have been off. The Steelers, and their global fan base, are hoping to see improvement in Week 3, and it starts with converting on 3rd downs. Not every drive is going to end in points, almost everyone should realize this, but limiting three-and-outs will be huge in giving the defense a break and keeping them fresh. Field position isn’t the worst thing in the world, and not many units will be able to drive the length of the field on the Pittsburgh defense. That starts by converting on 3rd downs.
Stop the turnovers
The Steelers have turned the ball over four times in two games. That’s an average you don’t want to see, even in a small sample size. There were times when you would say you can’t have more than one turnover, but that ship has sailed for the Steelers. They can’t turn it over at all. Why? That’s how fragile the group is right now.
Force the ball to Jimmy G
The Raiders are a team with similar struggles offensively as the Steelers’ offense. They haven’t been able to get Josh Jacobs going on the ground, and Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t really lit up the NFL through the air. If the Steelers can stop the run, something they haven’t been able to do this season, and put Jimmy G in obvious down and distances, it could be just what the doctor ordered for a dominant performance.
Keep taking the ball away
The Steelers have taken the ball away five times this season, a +1 in differential, and with the team’s offense struggling as mightily as they are, this is a trend which must continue. Getting these extra possessions for the offense will be key to beating the Raiders and stacking wins.
The Steelers’ defense has struggled with tackling this season, and that might be putting it mildly. While missed tackles isn’t an official NFL statistic, if it was the Steelers would likely be at, or near, the top of the league. If they can improve their tackling as a unit in Week 3, it will certainly help curtail Jacobs’ production and set the team up for success.
I talk about this, and MUCH more on the Friday episode of “Let’s Ride”, and you can hear that podcast in the player below this article. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they gear up for prime time!
More from Steel Curtain Networkread more
You may also be interested inread more
Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcastSteelers officially add the 3 final players to their 2023 practice squad