Pittsburgh Steelers: Bombs Away Against 49ers


Heading into last Sunday’s home opener against the San Francisco 49ers, there was little concern if any at all about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense. The question marks surrounded the defense after the season open opening loss to New England.

More from Ben Roethlisberger

After a smashing 43-18 victory over the Niners,  Keith Butler’s defense answered the critics while the offense performed as expected.

It was a monster day for the Ben Roethlisberger/Antonio Brown combination, and DeAngelo Williams continued to be impressive with three touchdowns while filling in for the second time for Le’Veon Bell who returns next weekend.  

The 49ers seemed to be making plays on the Steelers defense early mounting a 17-play drive that began on their own 13 only to see it stall 8:53 later following penalties, sacks, and incomplete passes. The result was just a field goal and from that point forward, the defense turned it on and played a magnificent game.

Scoring in every quarter but the third, the Steelers put 21 points on the board in the second quarter to take a 29-3 lead at halftime, and just when it seemed their offense had taken the foot off the gas pedal, they tacked on 14 more in the final quarter to put San Francisco away.

The 49ers tried hard to stay in the game, but they just could not defend Antonio Brown and allowed Markus Wheaton, Heath Miller, Williams, and Darrius-Heyward Bey to make big plays.

If it’s possible to ignore the 43 big points on the scoreboard, the bigger story of this game may have been the rebirth of Pittsburgh’s defense. Unable to stop the big weapons of the Patriots in week one, Ryan Shazier had the best game of his two-year career in the NFL and led the Black and Gold’s Nasty ‘D to a stellar day despite surrendering 18 points.

Shazier showed the speed that he brought with him from Ohio State into the league. Making an impressive 15 tackles, 11 of them solo, Shazier also had a quarterback hit while three of his tackles were for a loss of yardage. A huge day indeed but he was not alone.

Antwon Blake made 11 solo tackles himself, some of them bone-jarring. On the whole, the defense registered four sacks of Colin Kaepernick. If not for a Torrey Smith 75-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter and a questionable Anquan Boldin touchdown, Pittsburgh’s defense would have kept the 49ers out of the end zone all day. The Steelers defense looking much better than the performance in New England bent some in their Heinz Field opener but refused to break.

It can certainly be said that the Steelers offense gave their defense plenty of breathing room. A 26-point lead after two quarters allowed the defense to take more chances but they had already established solid quarterback pressure and not allowing big pass plays. Those big plays were reserved for the offense and there were plenty,

While Martavis Bryant is out for another two games,  Darrius Heyward-Bey continues to shine. His best game as a Steeler came last Sunday with four catches for 77 yards including a 41-yarder to pay dirt.  Last year’s disappointing performance is a distant memory as Heyward-Bey missed on just one of his targeted passes.

The big offensive star of the day however, was as no surprise, Antonio Brown. If there was any argument as to who the best wide receiver in the NFL is before this game, it is now case closed. Brown was a nightmare for San Francisco’s defense with nine receptions, 195 yards, a 59-yard scamper, and missing on just two throws from Big Ben. But  you read right…195 yards. Brown added a 16-yard punt return, one touchdown reception, and a two-point conversion. Stud is a perfect adjective to describe Antonio Brown. He is special.

Ben Roethlisberger chose just four other receivers to throw to last Sunday not named Brown. Heyward-Bey was mentioned. The other three were Heath Miller who only had two catches but one was for a touchdown and he also had a two-point score. Markus Wheaton added two more including his long bomb of the day for 48 yards. DeAngelo Williams closed the receiving stat pack with four shorties for 15 yards.

Live Feed

Buccaneers vs. Packers prediction, odds, spread, injuries, trends for NFL Week 15
Buccaneers vs. Packers prediction, odds, spread, injuries, trends for NFL Week 15 /

Lombardi Ave

  • 2024 NFL Draft order: How high the Chargers can climb after Justin Herbert's injuryBolt Beat
  • The not so secret stat that is determining the outcome of Colts gamesHorseshoe Heroes
  • Packers release Kyu Blu Kelly from 53-man, sign WR Thyrick Pitts to practice squadDairyland Express
  • Why are the Steelers playing on Saturday this week?Still Curtain
  • Texans vs. Titans prediction, odds, spread, injuries, trends for NFL Week 15Titan Sized
  • The receiving group aided Big Ben to a 369 yard passing day, avoiding any sacks, not throwing any interceptions, and putting up a near perfect quarterback rating of 155.8. For DeAngelo Williams, he becomes the first Steelers running back to score three times in a game since Willie Parker had turned the trick when he was with the Steelers. Williams added 77 yards rushing. Bud Dupree set a first on defense by registering a sack the first time a Steelers rookie had done that in his first two NFL games as a Steeler.

    Next week in St. Louis, Le’Veon Bell returns and it’s a scary thought for Pittsburgh opponents to think that if they can put up 43 points on any team without Bell and Martavis Bryant, what will happen when they are on the field with the current crop of receivers and a Bell/DeAngelo Williams backfield? For Steelers fans everywhere, they are licking their chops at what is to come. The end result could be that to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, you will have to win in a shootout if the Black and Gold defense can’t contain the offenses they face. This is certainly not the Pittsburgh type football Steelers Nation has been accustomed to.

    Naturally, Mike Tomlin was happy following the game, and when asked about that great performance of Ryan Shazier and the defense, Tomlin answered with:

    “He’s going to have an impact in whatever stadium he’s in. He’s that kind of player. He’s sharp and has gained experience. We expect his arrow to be pointed up week in and week out. He brings that approach, so I’m not surprised when he plays well.

    We played better situational football, especially when the field got short. We were competitive and we were better finishers on offense when the field got short. This was a necessary response from some known weaknesses a week ago. We’re probably not as bad as we were a week ago and we probably aren’t as good as we were today. We won’t spend a lot of time evaluating it. We will move on to next week’s challenge.”

    Tomlin’s complete press conference and comments from the players appear on the Steelers’ official site.

    Next: Pitt Suffers First Loss At Iowa On 57-Yard Game-Winning FG

    More from City of Champions