The newest matchup between two storied teams, the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers, is in the books. The Packers are now 3-6 after a last-second loss to the Steelers by a score of 23-19. Let’s dive into this week’s winners and losers from a disappointing, yet encouraging (?) game.
Loser: Run Defense
From the very first drive, the Steelers ran all over the Packers. The second drive? They ran all over the Packers. The third drive? I believe they ran all over the Packers, but it’s hard to say. In total, the defense allowed 205 yards...on the ground. Through ten weeks of the 2023 season, the Steelers have the 24th-ranked rushing offense, with just over 90 yards per game. For a defense which had a commanding game last week, I expected a similar performance against a bad offense this week. That was unfortunately not the case.
Winner: AJ Dillon
Congratulations are in order to RB AJ Dillon for his new career-best, a 40-yard rush. He was also the Packers’ leading rusher with 70 yards on the day. Dillon didn’t have the greatest start to the season, but his game has definitely improved, thanks to the Packers finally giving him the ball in more appropriate situations. Dillon gave us no cause for complaint today, a huge win.
Loser: Christian Watson
Christian, buttery are thy fingers. Watson has so much potential, and today there were unfortunately some struggles holding onto the ball. Watson also goes down extremely quickly, a problem when you’re almost 6’5” and should be able to break away for a momentum-changing gain. I see his game improving with time, but it’s a little disappointing to see these problems from a receiver the team traded up for, and almost drafted in the first round.
Winner: Jordan Love
Look away from the numbers (but he did throw for almost 300 yards!). Jordan Love had one of his better games as a Packer today. He really looks like he’s getting into his groove as the leader of the offense. Aside from a couple questionable throws, his decision making looked a lot better today; he was getting the ball out quickly without looking like he was panicking. This team does not have a true WR1, and Love has been forced to make do with the weapons he has. Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks were his best receivers of the day, and I expect that to be the case moving forward. Still, the team would’ve greatly benefitted from a veteran presence at this position today. All season, the receivers have struggled to get open; when Love is forced to throw, this causes some problems, as evidenced by today’s game-sealing interception.
Loser: The Screen Bay Packers
Please, Matthew. Matthew LaFleur. I’ve had enough of the unsuccessful screens.
Up next are Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers, who, at the time of writing, are down 10-3 to the Detroit Lions. The Chargers and Packers are neck and neck in rushing yards per game, at 101 and 100 yards, respectively. Herbert may end up testing the Packers’ defense through the air, and as we know, he has a cannon. It’ll be one to watch. Tune in at 12 PM CST.