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NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Things We Learned After Week 2

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5 Things We Learned After Week 2

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Personally, I did think that the Pittsburgh Steelers were going to lose their Week 2 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. I made this prediction months ago during the offseason, assuming that everyone on the team was healthy. However, I didn’t think that the Steelers were going to be this bad, even with key players sidelined.

I never would have thought that Pittsburgh would have struggled against the Tennessee Titans in the season opener as well. Being only two games into the regular season, a lot can be said about the current status of this team, and none of it is good.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin puts the blame of their 0-2 start on the offense, and he has every right to do so. The main problem is obviously the running game. Pittsburgh has taken an even bigger step back from their 26th-ranked ground attack from 2012. Entering Week 3, the Steelers are second-to-last in rushing in the league with a minuscule average of 37.5 yards per game.

Because of the stagnant running game, Pittsburgh’s offense was virtually one-dimensional against the Bengals this past Monday night. The Steelers only called 15 running plays all night, and relied on wide receiver screens to compensate for the lack of production on the ground.

Running back Felix Jones, who started the game, led the team with 37 yards on 10 carries, while fellow running backs Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer combined for six yards on four carries.

The Steelers’ horrific running game was the most visible problem the team had in Week 2. Here are five other things that Steeler Nation learned after witnessing this divisional loss.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+

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5. Offensive line still needs work

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the offensive line surrendered just two sacks versus Cincinnati, they allowed the Bengals’ pass rush to get numerous hits on their quarterback. And of course, getting no push on the line of scrimmage has resulted in Pittsburgh’s 31st-ranked running game.

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4. This is the worse Steelers offense in a long time

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Averaging 9.5 points in the first two weeks of the season isn’t a good sign for any team. The 19 combined points that the Steelers have scored in Weeks 1 and 2 of this regular season is the third worse in the NFL. No matter how good the other phases are on a team, getting very little points from your offense isn’t going to help win games.

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3. Markus Wheaton needs to get involved

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Against the Bengals, wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery was targeted eight times, only to come away with three receptions for 59 yards. One of those targets was a drop, which resulted in a Cincinnati interception. So far this season, rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton hasn’t caught a single pass. Wheaton is the speedy receiver that the Steelers need to make the big plays that the offense has been lacking.

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2. Defense has to play perfect

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Right now, Pittsburgh is ranked 10th in the league in overall defense. Considering their 0-2 start, that is pretty good. But until the offense gets it together, the Steelers’ defense will have to play flawless football if they want to contend for the AFC North crown.

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1. Big Ben can’t do it by himself

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve always said that Pittsburgh has a chance of winning as long as Ben Roethlisberger is on the field. I do stand by that statement, however, even Big Ben can’t carry the load week after week. The defense is doing what they can to keep the team within reach of winning games, but production from the offensive line, running game and big plays from the receiving corps are all needed to help Roethlisberger lead this team back to the top.