Mike Tomlin acknowledged that the Steelers got their “teeth kicked in” following his team’s 30-7 loss to the 49ers in Week 1. The Steelers’ performance was ugly, but J.J. Watt doesn’t think that Tomlin’s team will be in the dumps for long.
Watt, a future Hall of Fame defensive lineman and current “NFL Today” analyst, is confident that the Steelers will turn things around sooner rather than later. Watt specifically mentioned Tomlin as the main reason why Pittsburgh will get back on track, starting with Monday night’s prime time game against the visiting Cleveland Browns.
“The Steelers certainly have work to do between Week 1 and Week 2,” Watt said during an interview with CBS Sports. “But when you have a coach like Mike Tomlin, who knows what he’s doing; there’s a reason why he’s never been under .500. He’s gonna get that turned around real quick. His famous saying is ‘The standard is the standard,’ and I’m sure that there’s plenty from that film that he turned on on Monday that wasn’t the standard. All you’ve got to do is that put that film on, be very honest about it, and then go out and get it corrected for Week 2.”
A lack of balance on offense was one of the issues the Steelers had last Sunday. Pittsburgh ran the ball just 10 times while calling 46 pass plays. Without the threat of a run, the 49ers’ pass rushers pinned their ears back and unleashed hell (to use a classic Tomlinism) on Pickett, who was sacked five times.
Conversely, the 49ers called 34 runs and 29 pass plays while controlling the ball for over 37 minutes. 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy’s precision-like passing was complemented by Christian McCaffrey’s 152 rushing yards that included a 65-yard, back-breaking touchdown run early in the second half.
“It would certainly help, there’s no doubt,” Watt said about having offensive balance. “You run the ball and open up the play action game. The problem was they got behind a little bit and it got tough. And you know that Cleveland is going to try to run the ball as well. Nick Chubb is an incredible player and he’s going to try and run, especially with the success that McCaffrey had last week.
“Obviously, the offense has to get some things going. They had a great preseason, it just didn’t translate to Week 1, so they have to figure out quickly what they have to fix for Week 2.”
If there was a bright spot for the Steelers last Sunday, it was the play of Watt’s younger brother, T.J. Watt, who had three sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. In the process, Watt tied James Harrison’s career sack record, an achievement that J.J. doesn’t think TJ thought much about given the outcome of the game.
“You wanna win. This league is all about winning,” Watt said. “You want to win. You try and do everything you possibly can to help your team win. And obviously TJ played unbelievable. He had a great, great game, but it’s just tough when you don’t win. He’s got to try to do more next week, so we’ll see.”
This fall, J.J. Watt has teamed up with Miller Lite and its new campaign where consumers will have a chance to win an autographed jersey signed by Watt and 99 bottles of Miller Light. The campaign includes Watt singing a slightly different version of the classic “99 Bottles of Beer” song.
“You have to be pretty confident to be able to sound that bad on national television for a commercial,” Watt said while smiling. “But it’s awesome. Miller Lite is such a natural partnership for me. I grew up in Wisconsin. My first-ever beer was a Miller Lite. So now, we have a chance to give 99 bottles away to 99 different fans. They cam make some memories with their friends and their family and really looking to it. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”