What We Saw: Week 2

Did your QB survive the week?

Raiders @ Steelers

Final Score: Raiders 26, Steelers 17

Writer: Callen Elslager (@callen_elslager on Twitter and Reddit)


Coming off a great win on Monday Night Football last week, the Raiders carried that momentum to beat the Steelers on the road. With Devin Bush and Joe Haden out for the Steelers on defense, and T.J. Watt leaving in the second quarter, Derek Carr looked very impressive while taking advantage of the weakened defense and keeping the ball moving. On the other hand, the offensive line woes continued to plague the Steelers’ offense, leading to Ben Roethlisberger constantly fighting pressure and once again an inability to get Najee Harris going on the ground. Combine that with a Diontae Johnson injury on the game’s final play, and it was an all-around poor day at the office for the Steelers.


Las Vegas Raiders




Derek Carr: 28/37, 382 yards, 2 TD | 4 carries, 9 yards


Derek Carr continued his hot start to the season with a dominant performance against the Steelers on Sunday. While the Steelers’ defense was down a few of its key players, the way Carr looked that wouldn’t have mattered, as Carr likely would have played pretty close to this even if the Steelers’ defense had its full plethora of weapons. With two touchdown passes, Carr dropped a very nice pass in the corner of the endzone to Foster Moreau, and he also showed off the arm by dropping a gorgeous dime 61-yards downfield to Henry Ruggs III for the second touchdown pass of the day. He did have a bit of an injury scare in this game, getting rolled up on after his touchdown pass to Moreau, but he would return for the very next drive and showed no signs of being banged up.




Running Back


Peyton Barber: 13 carries, 32 yards

Kenyan Drake: 7 carries, 9 yards | 6 targets, 5 receptions, 46 yards


With Josh Jacobs ruled out for this game, there was some question as to who would be the lead back, based on the money given to Kenyan Drake in the offseason and Peyton Barber being talked up by Jon Gruden leading up to game time. The answer was not entirely clear, as the Steelers did a great job quieting both backs on the ground. Kenyan Drake could not get anything going on the ground as the Steelers’ defense got to him pretty quickly after he was handed the ball, but the work the Raiders gave him in the backfield showing off the pass-catching ability he’s had throughout the past few years. On the other hand, while Peyton Barber got the majority of carries, it was the most Peyton Barber of stat lines, with the Steelers front seven often swarming him soon after getting handed the ball.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Henry Ruggs III: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 113 yards, TD

Darren Waller: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 65 yards

Hunter Renfrow: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 57 yards

Bryan Edwards: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 40 yards

Foster Moreau: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 34 yards, TD

Willie Snead IV: 1 target, 1 reception, 14 yards

Derek Carrier: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 13 yards


Henry Ruggs III showed off the burst of speed that made him a first-round pick and one of fantasy football’s favorite sleepers this year. On multiple pass attempts, he took off for plenty of yards after the catch and broke past the corners trying to cover. This was no more evident than on his 61-yard touchdown reception, seen below, where he broke past the Steelers’ secondary and caught up to a perfectly thrown ball by Derek Carr to take it to the house.



Darren Waller maintained his status as Carr’s safety blanket, as he was often looked to on third down conversions in big situations. With the receivers able to break free, Carr was not leaning on Waller as much as he was last week but he still was easily able to get open downfield. In a similar sense, Hunter Renfrow often saw some quick passes to move the sticks and took advantage of the opportunity he was given. Bryan Edwards saw some targets downfield off the bat and also could have had a touchdown reception had it not gotten called back in the red zone due to a Raider penalty.


Pittsburgh Steelers




Ben Roethlisberger: 27/40, 295 yards, TD, INT


Ben Roethlisberger played pretty similarly to how he did last week, sticking with the quick passes to his main weapons shortly after taking the snap. Unfortunately, his offensive line did not do him many favors, as he faced pressure fairly often and took some tough shots from the Raiders’ defense. Roethlisberger did end up taking a few more shots downfield this week to Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool, however, he was pretty inconsistent with them, hitting Johnson on a beautiful pass but throwing a few inaccurate ones towards Claypool, including one that hit his hands that could have been a touchdown but forced him to turn over his other shoulder. His touchdown was thanks to Najee Harris taking off in space down in the red zone, while the interception was a poorly thrown ball down the sideline that he kind of chucked up while facing pressure with no one able to get open.



Running Back


Najee Harris: 10 carries, 38 yards | 5 targets, 5 receptions, 43 yards, TD

Benny Snell Jr.:2 carries, 1 yard


The Steeler offensive line did not do Najee Harris any favors as he once again struggled to get into space on many of his carries. However, we did see the skill that Harris has with his first career touchdown reception, taking off down the sideline and in the open field near the red zone, as well as showing off a major stiff arm on a carry down the sideline. With the pressure Roethlisberger faced and the quick passes he threw, Harris was a popular target for him this week, often choosing to dump it off to Harris when faced with such pressure.




The streak of playing every snap did come to an end on Sunday, as Benny Snell Jr. would come on to spell Najee Harris for a few snaps throughout the game. But, Snell did not do anything with these carries and was stopped pretty much as soon as he got the ball.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Diontae Johnson: 12 targets, 9 receptions, 105 yards

Chase Claypool: 9 targets, 3 receptions, 70 yards | 1 carry, -3 yards

Juju Smith-Schuster: 7 targets, 6 receptions, 41 yards | 1 carry, 3 yards, TD

Pat Freiermuth: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 36 yards

Eric Ebron: 2 targets

James Washington: 1 target


Diontae Johnson remained the number one receiver in this offense, being the favorite target of Roethlisberger, especially in key third-down conversions. We even saw Johnson get a deep ball down the sideline beautifully dropped in by Roethlisberger. The unfortunate thing is, on the final play of the game as the Steelers were likely going to just lateral the ball around, Johnson ended up getting tackled and immediately reaching for his leg in obvious pain as the clock ran out. There has not been any update on his status after that play so it is worth keeping an eye on.

Juju Smith Schuster had himself a solid game, capped off by a reverse at the goal line for the touchdown. He received many quick passes from Roethlisberger, and from there tried to make something happen in open space, but was more of a safety blanket to pick up short plays and keep the drives going.



The Steelers tried to get the ball to Chase Claypool throughout the afternoon, but he and Roethlisberger were just not in sync. Often these passes would be deeper downfield as the Steelers tried to open up the passing game a bit more, but they were often thrown a bit offline or met quickly by a defender to deflect the pass down. The two could have linked up for a touchdown as the ball was just underthrown to Claypool, forcing him to turn over his other shoulder, with a defender just knocking the ball out of his hands, and if that ball ended up being caught, who knows how differently we’re talking about this offense.

Pat Freiermuth took advantage of the opportunity he was given, with Roethlisberger taking some shots over the middle to him and Freiermuth catching each of those targets. As he was more involved this week than last, we’re starting to see the upside which Pittsburgh saw in making him a second-round pick, getting himself into open space over the middle to make key catches and keep the chains moving on the times Roethlisberger had a bit more time.


— Callen Elslager (@callen_elslager on Twitter and Reddit)

One response to “What We Saw: Week 2”

  1. Voucher Sort says:

    thank you this is great. I just thought I’d let you know there’s a typo in yyour title though?

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