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#pounditMonday, October 18, 2021

Steelers’ defense embarrasses itself against Patriots

The NFL regular season began on Thursday night, but the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense was acting like it was still the preseason.

Pittsburgh’s defense committed a bevy of critical mistakes that one would not expect from an NFL team, much less a unit that typically ranks among the league’s best.

On the Patriots’ first touchdown of the game, the Steelers straight up neglected to cover Rob Gronkowski, as if leaving the league’s most potent red-zone threat all alone would not come back to bite them:

Steelers guard Rob Gronkowski

The next time the Patriots were down in the red zone, Pittsburgh said, “They already scored on us when we had 11 men on the field, let’s see if they can do it against 10!”

Of course New England scored a touchdown again.

Then in the fourth quarter they continued to have problems against Gronk. They often single-covered him with a linebacker and no safety help, allowing him to burn them.

Gronk finished with five catches for 94 yards and three touchdowns.

Former Ravens coach Brian Billick said it best:

Dick LeBeau was the team’s defensive coordinator from 2004-2014, but the team let him go after last season since the defense had slipped for the second year in a row. Looks like they could still use some guidance from the 78-year-old.

Pittsburgh’s offense actually looked good in the game. Their total points were not indicative of how well they moved the ball. But the defense needs to get its act straight in order to improve its chances of winning the AFC North.

Image via NFL Stats

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