The Gridiron Report: Steelers fall to Packers 27-17

Written By Anthony Cugini, Sports Columnist

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Green Bay Packers 27-17. The Packers stayed hot against a struggling Steelers team who have now lost three straight games as their record drops to 1-3.

The Steelers started strong as Ben Roethlisberger threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to receiver Diontae Johnson. This was the first time the Steelers had scored on their first drive in 14 games.

Towards the end of the first quarter, the Packers put together a 64-yard drive that ended in an Aaron Rodgers 4-yard scramble into the endzone.

On the next drive, Packers defensive tackle Kingsley Keke forced Roethlisberger to fumble. Green Bay fell on the ball and got possession.

The Packers capitalized on the turnover and scored again. This time, Rodgers found receiver Randall Cobb for a 23-yard touchdown to put Green Bay in front. Steelers kicker Chris Boswell knocked through a 52-yard field goal on the next drive.

The Packers then drove up field but were forced to attempt a field goal by the Steelers’ defense. Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby stepped up for a routine 31-yard chip shot. The Steelers jumped the snap, and the kick was blocked by Minkah Fitzpatrick. He then took it all the way to the endzone for a touchdown. But there was a flag on the play. Steelers cornerback Joe Haden was called offsides, and the kick was to be retaken. As everyone watched the replay it seemed as if he moved at the exact time the ball was being snapped. A call that could’ve gone either way and went in Green Bay’s favor. Crosby then stepped up again and knocked the kick through. The Packers led 17-10 at the half.

The Packers started the second half with another field goal as Crosby converted on the 29-yard attempt.

After the Steelers were forced to punt, the Packers were driving yet again. Aaron Rodgers found Randall Cobb again for a 1-yard touchdown.

The Steelers’ offense continued to struggle as they turned the ball over on downs after failing to convert on a 4th and 4. After the Packers took over, Steelers defensive tackle Chris Wormley forced Green Bay running back Aaron Jones to fumble. Outside linebacker T.J. Watt recovered and got Pittsburgh the ball back. Neither team did anything on offense for the next four drives.

Nearing the end of the game, the Steelers put together a 65-yard drive that ended in rookie running back Najee Harris leaping over the goal line for the touchdown.

It was too little too late for the Steelers as they failed to comeback. Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception to rookie Packers cornerback Eric Stokes to ice the game.

It was another poor performance from the Steelers’ offense. They started out hot, but that was about it. Other than the touchdown drive towards the end of the game, the Packers were dominant on defense.

After coming back from injury, receiver Diontae Johnson put together a good day as he caught the ball nine times for 92 yards and a touchdown. Najee Harris built off of his good performance last week as he rushed the ball 15 times for 62 yards and a touchdown. He also had six catches for 29 yards.

The Steelers pass rush wasn’t bad as T.J. Watt returned from injury. He finished with two sacks and a fumble recovery. Linebacker Devin Bush also picked up a sack. The secondary is where the defense struggled. They failed to contain Aaron Rodgers as he threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger struggled yet again. He completed 26 of 40 passes for 232 yards and a touchdown. He also threw his fourth interception of the season. He also missed two big throws to receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. One would’ve been a touchdown and the other would’ve at least been a big gain in a big moment.

As frustrations with Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense grow, some serious questions have to be asked. Is it the play calling that’s hurting the offense? Is Roethlisberger the reason they’re struggling? When are we putting in Mason Rudolph? Fans shouldn’t go into full panic mode yet. The season is only four games in. If Ben continues to struggle and the offense hasn’t improved by week 8, then it might be time for a change.

The Steelers look to put an end to the losing streak next week as they take on the Denver Broncos in Pittsburgh. The Broncos picked up their first loss of the season as they lost to the Ravens 23-7.

Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater left the game in the first quarter due to a concussion. This could be troublesome for Denver as they may be forced to start second-year quarterback Drew Lock. The Steelers should have a good chance to beat Denver next Sunday, but they’re far from favorites to win.