NFL: Robert Griffin III and the Pittsburgh Steelers struggle early in the season, but Seattle Seahawks fans have already found their voice

A weekly look at the talking points in the NFL

From RGIII's return, via a shift in power in the AFC North, to the Seahawks impressive and deafeningly loud 12th man, the 2013 season is already packed with drama.

Healed and fully recovered (or so we are led to believe) following his horrific knee injury and subsequent major off-season surgery - Robert Griffin III, the man of whom so much is expected, was supposed to return fresh, full of confidence and raring to go. 

Instead however, rather than the dual threat phenomenon from last year, the former Heisman trophy winner has returned looking a shadow of his once trailblazing self.

Blessed with an ability to make plays with his feet as well as his arm, it would be naive to suggest that RGIII's career may stall in the absence of his lightning pace, even if it is spluttering along at present. However, should his ability to escape pressure continue to be an issue for his surgically rebuilt knee, it's safe to say that much more will be expected of those around him in the Washington Redskins team.

Perhaps not fully convinced in the strength of his knee at this point, RGIII has struggled through the opening two games of the season and, after another performance that didn't show any signs of life until the 'Skins were already blown out, many are wondering if it's his confidence that has been more affected than previously thought.  

Running only four times, for one yard, against Green Bay on Sunday certainly didn't dispel any of the quickly emerging doubters and only time will tell if his knee is simply not able to cope with the pressures it will be put under. Either way, he hasn't been the only member of Mike Shanahan's team yet to discover any sort of rhythm.

Aside from their offensive fragility, the majority of the blame for their lacklustre performances to date must lay with a defence that allowed the Packers to carve them open at will on Sunday.

Surrendering almost 600 yards defensively and allowing Aaron Rodgers to throw for 480 yards, their inability to stop the run only compounded matters. Packer's rookie Eddie Lacy was lost early on, courtesy of a crushing Mayweather hit, but  James Starks still rumbled for over 130 yards, the first time in 45 games any Green Bay rusher has reached such a figure.

 

Steelers' struggles

Their decline hasn't been instantly noticeable yet, toiling in a notoriously tough division and continually beset by key injuries, but the Pittsburgh Steelers are in trouble.

In their Monday night match-up against their youthful division rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals, their weaknesses were there for all to see. Injuries to key players, and arguably equally as alarming, their inability to run the ball, were a real concern.

Their inability to do so, barely surprising considering their current starter is Felix Jones, can be hammered home courtesy of Alex Smith. Yes, Alex Smith, the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback has more rushing yards than the Steelers so far this season.

Now that's not to say the Bengals are a complete outfit, they've issues of their own, but as their 20-10 victory suggests, Mike Tomlin and his men are lagging behind and with glaring weaknesses at a host of positions, 2013 already looks like a forgetful season for Ben Roethlisberger and co.

 

World Record

The game may have been held up by a lightning storm, but the unexpected break certainly didn't interrupt the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday as they out-muscled the San Francisco 49ers on their way to a comfortable 29-3 victory.

Roared on by the loudest crowd ever measured at a sporting event, the Seahawks took away the 49ers game plan, bombarding Colin Kaepernick with constant pressure while also completely shutting down their go-to receiver, Anquan Boldin.

Facing pressure at the line of scrimmage, Boldin was unable to wrestle his way past the outstanding Richard Sherman and only managed to get free on the one occasion Sherman was otherwise engaged.

For head coach Pete Carroll, it was the perfect 62nd birthday present but, for the 49ers, such struggles offensively will need to be addressed, especially considering they came after their explosive week one performance against the Packers.

Sport
world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Sport
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice