Pittsburgh’s offense did not operate very much inside Tennessee’s red zone in Week 1 for one simple reason: the team could not move the football for much of the game.
In fact, Pittsburgh’s offense made only two trips in the red zone all afternoon. Their first red zone trip came on their first drive of the game, and their second one came on their very last one in the fourth quarter.
I will say that everything appeared to be going smoothly for the Steelers’ when they made their first foray inside Tennessee’s 20 yard-line.
Roethlisberger completed two big passes for eight and nine yards to keep the chains moving, and all appeared to be working well despite the loss of Maurkice Pouncey earlier on the opening drive. Of course, all of the air went out of Pittsburgh’s balloon when Isaac Redman fumbled at the five yard-line.
Why they went away from the pass, even as close to the goal line as they were at that point in the game, was a bit of a mystery. Unfortunately, that would be the team’s last trip inside the red zone for another two and a half quarters.
As far as strategy was concerned on their final trip into the red zone, the Steelers were essentially forced to go to the air since they were pressed for time. Roethlisberger completed five of his seven passes inside the Titans 20 yard-line, and found Jerricho Cotchery with his final throw for a touchdown.
With their chances to shine in the red zone so scarce on opening weekend, I am definitely interested to see how the Steelers’ offense operates when it enters the red zone against the Bengals on Monday night. I am certainly wondering whether or not the following will happen:
Will Pittsburgh try to utilize a hopefully healthy Will Johnson, David Paulson, and David Johnson as targets in the passing game with Heath Miller still sidelined?
Would some play-action in heavy-packages keep Cincinnati’s linebackers off-balance?
Will Jonathan Dwyer and Felix Jones see extensive work when the Steelers go to the ground game?
Or will Isaac Redman get another shot to prove himself near the goal line?
Will Cotchery and Sanders be the main wide receivers in the passing game?
Or will Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, or Derek Moye receive some extra attention due to specific matchups?
Assuming the Steelers can move the ball inside Cincinnati’s red zone, which is a bit of a stretch right now, I am curious to see how Haley and Roethlisberger try to put points on the board from a strategic standpoint. I just hope that the offense can eliminate the turnovers in the red zone and move the ball enough to run an extended number of plays in that area of the field.
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