Thu, 07 Dec 2023

Steelers take on Raiders in a matchup of struggling offenses

Field Level Media
21 Sep 2023, 10:19 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

Scoring points could be at a premium when the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday night.

Neither team has been able to find a flow when in possession of the ball heading into the Raiders' home opener.

Pittsburgh (1-1) has scored just 19 offensive points and has punted 13times, compared to 24 total first downs. The Steelers posted a 26-22 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Monday night behind defensive touchdowns by Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt.

The Raiders (1-1) are tied for last in points per game (13.5). Star rusher Josh Jacobs is coming off a career-worst minus-2 rushing game (on nine attempts) in a 38-10 loss to the host Buffalo Bills.

Jacobs, the NFL's leading rusher with 1,653 yards last season, has just 46 yards on 28 carries in two games with a long gain of 7.

In the loss to Buffalo, the Raiders ran just 13 second-half offensive plays and 39 for the game as the Bills controlled the ball for 40:04.

"I think we need to address where we went wrong and improve from there," Jacobs said. "That's the thing that makes it so frustrating for me is just the potential. You see flashes of how good we can really be."

The Raiders are adjusting to new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and rank 30th in total offense at 250.5 yards per game.

"It starts with myself," said Garoppolo, who has passed for 385 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. "I made way too many mistakes -- physical, mental, all of it. We couldn't get into a rhythm. To beat a good team like that at their place, you've got to play a lot better than that."

Star receiver Davante Adams sustained a concussion against Buffalo but was a full practice participant Wednesday. Fellow wideout Jakobi Meyers is still dealing with a concussion sustained in Week 1 and was limited.

The Steelers are 31st in total offense (247.0), and second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett is off to a slow start.

Pickett, who has 454 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, said Wednesday that the Pittsburgh offense lacks an identity.

"We've got to find it. Clearly, we don't have one," Pickett said. "It's a team game, the ultimate team game. One guy does something wrong on a play as an offense, it usually doesn't go your way."

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is deeply troubled by the offensive issues.

"We have to get our mojo back," Tomlin said. "... We do acknowledge that two is a pattern. We've had two outings that are not up to snuff in that regard, and so it has our attention as we are preparing for this next one."

Watt, who is tied for the NFL lead with four sacks, scored the decisive touchdown against Cleveland on a 16-yard fumble return in the fourth quarter. Highsmith forced the fumble by sacking Deshaun Watson and added a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown.

On Wednesday, the Raiders placed defensive end Chandler Jones on the non-football injury list. Jones has been away from the team after sharply criticizing the organization prior to the season opener.

Defensive end Tyree Wilson and safety Chris Smith II both missed practice with illnesses. Safety Marcus Epps (quad) was limited, as were cornerback Jakorian Bennett (hamstring), linebacker Divine Deablo (rib) and defensive tackle Bilal Nichols (hamstring, hand).

Pittsburgh had six players who didn't participate in Wednesday's practice due to injury. The list included safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (chest), who was hospitalized after Monday's game for "precautionary reasons."

Also missing practice due to injuries were defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (foot), linebacker Markus Golden (knee), safety Damontae Kazee (calf), tight end Darnell Washington (knee) and receiver Gunner Olszewski (concussion).

The Steelers beat visiting Las Vegas 13-10 in Week 16 last season.

--Field Level Media

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