Three Steelers who must make a difference on ‘MNF’

sports gates الإثنين 18 سبتمبر 2023 - 17:43

The Steelers’ Week 2 matchup against the Browns is already important as they are falling behind in the AFC North. Here are three players that must step up for Pittsburgh on “Monday Night Football.”

Najee Harris, running back

In Week 1, the Steelers never established their run game, posting a league-low 41 rushing yards. Harris didn’t look bad either, rushing for 31 yards on just six attempts — a 5.2 yards per carry average. They must lean on the run game in Week 2.

Second-year QB Kenny Pickett struggled in Pittsburgh’s 30-7 loss a week ago, so the team should take the ball out of his hands until he gets into a rhythm. The Steelers used a first-round pick on Harris in 2021. It’s time for them to put their confidence in him like they did when they drafted him a couple of years ago.

Calvin Austin III, wide receiver

Wide receiver Diontae Johnson is expected to miss up to four weeks with a hamstring injury, which means Austin III is likely the next man up. The 24-year-old filled in nicely after Johnson exited the game last week, posting six catches for 37 yards.

However, the speedster, who ran a 4.32-second 40-yard dash, must make some bigger splash plays as he did in the preseason. If he can keep Cleveland’s stout defense honest on the backend, Pittsburgh’s offense may just have the bounce-back week it desperately needs.

Keeanu Benton, defensive tackle

Defensive tackle Cameron Heyward is also expected to miss up to eight weeks with a groin injury. The Steelers will likely use several players to fill the void left by Heyward, but the team’s second-round rookie will certainly be given the opportunity to make a difference on defense.

Following Benton’s Week 1 performance, Pro Football Focus graded him as the second-best rookie, ahead of the likes of No. 3 overall pick Will Anderson Jr. and No. 11 overall pick Peter Skoronski. He must help limit the Browns rushing attack that ranks second in yards per game (206).

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