Well it took seven games, but the Steelers offense we expected to see finally showed up.
Now, can they keep it up?
Behind a strong running game that featured 145 yards on the ground from James Conner and an aerial attack that finally saw JuJu Smith-Schuster go over 100 yards, the Steelers rallied to beat Miami and move to 3-4 on the season.
It came at a price though as Conner suffered an AC joint injury late in the game; now the season and his status against the Colts next week are up in the air.
Despite the injury, this is what we’ve been waiting to see from Pittsburgh. Coming into the season, an offense like we saw against the Dolphins is why they were preseason favorites in the AFC North, even without some key weapons from the past. The ground game, a unit that even with last night’s performance is still 24th in the league, came to life with 158 yards. Mason Rudolph returned from injury and threw for 250 yards, completing passes to seven receivers and targeted Smith-Schuster nine times. Coming off a bye, it gives a reason to still have hope the Black and Gold can still hang with Baltimore in the North.
Steelers Odds Preview for Week 9: Mason Rudolph Hands the Ball to…?
Now midway through the year, as it looks like players have handles on their roles going forward, the biggest issue for the Steelers is depth. With Benny Snell nursing a knee injury and Jaylen Samuels working his way back from arthroscopic surgery less than a month ago, Pittsburgh is thin at running back. A significant ouchie to Conner would leave just one fully healthy RB on the Steelers roster and he, Trey Edmunds, is a former practice squad player.
Injuries can be blamed for a lot of Pittsburgh’s woes this season and while people around the league may say “man, that stinks”, in the very same breath it’ll be “sorry ‘bout it, how do we exploit the backup?” No one will take it easy on you because you’ve got guys banged up. The Colts certainly won’t on Sunday.
As of right now, the game is a pick ‘em, so Vegas and the online world sees it as an even matchup, with maybe the Colts being a slightly better team since it’s in Pittsburgh. With what they showed after a dismal start last night, and with a defense that’s been playing well for the majority of the season, plus a Colts offense that struggled against the Texans last time out, I can legitimately see the Steelers winning this game and getting back to .500.
I’d hold your bets until later in the week when we know more about Conner’s injury. If he’s healthy enough to go, pick the Steelers; especially against an Indianapolis defense that is 21st in the league against the run, giving up north of 110 yards per game on the ground. If Conner isn’t good, bet at your own risk.