Mark Madden

Mark Madden

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STEELERS D = FAR FROM ELITE MINUS WATT

Last year, the Steelers were 9-4 when edge rusher T.J. Watt played the entire game. They were 0-4-1 when he was unavailable or when his play was limited by injury. 

This year, Watt suffered a torn pec in Week 1. 

The Steelers got beat in Week 2 without him. 

They’re 1-0 with him, 0-1 without him. 

They had eight sacks at Cincinnati with him, none vs. New England without him. 

They had five takeaways at Cincinnati with him, one vs. New England without him. 

Are the Steelers going to lose every time Watt doesn’t play? Because he’s projected to be out five more games. 

Can nobody step up in his absence? 

Is the alleged “elite level” of the Steelers’ defense totally dependent on Watt? 

Don’t tell me the defense played well against New England. It didn’t. 

The Patriots only scored 17 points, true. 

But they put together a 13-play, 71-yard field-goal drive on their first possession. 

Ahkello Witherspoon got beat for a 44-yard touchdown pass with 22 seconds left in the first half. 

Cam Sutton dropped an interception. 

The Patriots got the ball with 6:33 remaining and ran out the clock, posting four first downs in the process. 

As got mentioned, the Steelers got no sacks and one takeaway. Alex Highsmith went from three sacks at Cincinnati to invisible vs. New England. 

If an “elite defense” is that reliant on one player, it’s not elite.

Detroit Lions v Pittsburgh Steelers

Photo: Getty Images


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