The Pittsburgh Steelers took one on the chin in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers. Despite playing at home for the first time in the season opener since 2014, the Steelers were flat to start the game and fell, 30-7, to the 49ers.
One of Pittsburgh’s lone bright spots was edge rusher T.J. Watt. He posted 3 sacks, 5 quarterback hits, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and 1 tackle for loss. With his 3 sacks, Watt tied James Harrison for the most sacks in Steelers history.
But Watt wanted no part of discussing the historic significance of the Steelers’ sack record during his postgame press conference.
“I don’t want to diminish what it is, but I’m just super upset about the results of today,” Watt said. “Not happy with it. Not acceptable on many levels.”
Despite Watt’s efforts, the Steelers allowed 391 total yards and 5.5 yards per rush. The 49ers scored touchdowns on 2 of their 3 redzone possessions and converted 6 out of 13 third-down attempts.
Steelers’ T.J. Watt Calls on Himself, Teammates to ‘Improve Quickly’
Watt was arguably the only member of the Steelers making any plays in Week 1. But as is the case with every elite NFL player, the bar is high, and Watt said he needs to make more plays next week.
The rest of the Steelers defense also needs to follow his lead.
“There’s so many more plays to be made out there, myself included,” Watt told reporters. “Just looking at a lot of the runs. What we can do better. What I can do better.
“We need to improve quickly. We have a tough opponent coming up this week, so we need to get in the lab.”
The Steelers will host the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football in Week 2. Cleveland upset the Cincinnati Bengals on September 10, holding quarterback Joe Burrow to a career-low 82 yards in a 24-3 victory.
The Browns averaged 5.2 yards per rush.
After allowing Christian McCaffrey to gain 152 rushing yards, run defense will likely be a focal point for Watt and the Steelers in practice this week.
Dave Holcomb is a sports reporter covering the Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions for Heavy.com. Originally from Pittsburgh, Holcomb has covered college and professional sports for outlets including Fansided, Rotowire and Yardbarker. More about Dave Holcomb
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