Things were certainly looking up for the Pittsburgh Steelers inconsistent offense when they took a 20-17 lead into halftime against the Cincinnati Bengals late Sunday afternoon. Rookie quarterback, Kenny Pickett looked the best he has, running back, Najee Harris was effectively moving the ball on the ground and the unit as a whole gained 212 total yards in the first 30 minutes of play. The second half was a completely different story as the group sputtered and played pretty much exactly how anyone expects nowadays. It was an extremely embarrassing effort all across the board and hurt the team in a 37-30 loss.
Steelers Underperforming 2nd-Year Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada Hints That No QB’s Can Audible In His Offense
Mike Tomlin‘s team was outscored 20-10 in the second half and while the defensive secondary let them down quite a bit, scoring three points during the first 29 minutes of the second half was bound to lead to a loss against a dynamic offense, even without wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase in the lineup for Cincinnati. Blame has to be passed around. It can start with offensive play caller, Matt Canada, and rightfully so, but the offensive line and Pickett deserve to be held accountable as well.
It has seemed to be a common theme in recent years that after the team leads at halftime, the offense comes out extremely conservative and flat out bad in the second half. On the CBS halftime show, former Bengals’ quarterback, Boomer Esiason remarked that the game was far from over and Pittsburgh still had to come out and play two more full quarters. His comments can now be looked back on and accepted as a valid and intelligent observation. The Steelers, especially on offense, came out in horrible fashion.
After carrying all of the moment into the break, the first play of the second half was an unproductive screen pass to Diontae Johnson that went for one yard. Canada takes significant blame in this game for continuously running the ball on second and long which followed. The offense had just 13 plays on the first four drives of the second half and three of the possession ended with a Pressley Harvin III punt. The fourth was a field goal from Matthew Wright.
Only down four, T.J. Watt came up with one of the best interceptions anyone will ever see from someone on the defensive front. The answer was a wonderful two incompletions and six total yards. Although only down 24-23 at the time, it seemed like the game ended right then and there. Joe Burrow and the Bengals offense made sure of it after that. The penalties on offense for Pittsburgh were also absolutely buzz killers throughout the final 30 minutes of play.
Forget about the garbage time drive towards the end of regulation that led to Harris’ second touchdown of the game. No one should be praising Canada or the offense for putting up 30 points. Pickett showed poise and promise at times, but the negligent approach to the majority of the second part of the game has to be answered for. There is no reason that a unit with complete momentum coming off of their best half of the season should have three straight 3-and-outs and a four play drive leading to just a field goal.
What are your thoughts on the second half offense following the Steelers’ disappointing loss to their division foe? Let us know in the comments below!