A weekly look at what the Steelers must fix:
The Pittsburgh Steelers have to start forcing opposing offenses into low-percentage situations, something they didn’t do at all on two 12-play drives that resulted in the Ravens’ touchdowns on Thursday night.
The Ravens faced a total of just four third downs on their touchdown drives. None was longer than 4 yards, and Dick LeBeau’s defense is predicated on stopping the run and putting teams in obvious passing situations.
“If you can make a team one-dimensional, it’s so much easier to play the game,” Steelers free safety Mike Mitchell said. "But if you’re in third-and-1s and third-and-2s [offenses] can do whatever they want. We can’t continue to play teams where they can run and pass on us.“
The Steelers actually fared well when they put the Ravens significantly behind the chains. Baltimore did not convert a third down longer than 6 yards in its 26-6 win over Pittsburgh, and it was just 5-of-12 in third-down percentage.
The problem for the Steelers is they consistently gave up yards in chunks because of a combination of shoddy tackling and players not staying in their assigned gaps on running plays.
That allowed the Ravens to stay away from third-and-long situations for much of the game.
“I think it’s new faces, new guys understanding new techniques, new responsibilities,” veteran defensive end Brett Keisel said about why the Steelers have struggled on defense. “It’s a hard transition, but it’s a transition that has to happen.”
It won't get any easier against the 2-0 Panthers, who are coming off an impressive 24-7 home win over the Detroit Lions.