The Pittsburgh Steelers are 1-1 after two close matchups with the Cincinnati Bengals and the New England Patriots, and the only question people are asking is: Did anything change?
You can argue they can be 2-0, which is definitely fair. They should not have lost to New England with how the defense is performing.
But you can definitely argue they should also be 0-2 because of how the offense is performing.
It really just depends on how you view the situation. The defense is stellar, per usual, and is the sole reason for the opening week win in Cincinnati.
The offense, on the other hand, has been abysmal, atrocious, lousy, and flat out unacceptable. And it has been this way for the last whole calendar year at least. You can even go back to the 2020 season in which they ended the season 1-4 after starting 11-0.
Through two games, here are some stats on just how bad the Steelers offense has been:
- 2 total touchdowns
- 5 points/quarter
- 255 Yards/Game (30th)
- 18.5 Points/Game (25th)
- QB Rating: 76.1 (28th)
- 55.3 COMP% (28th)
- 26.8 1st Down% (27th)
- 5.1 Yds/Pass Att (Last)
You start to ask the question, “Did anything change?” The answer right now is a resounding no, despite investments made into the offensive line and despite having one of the more elite younger cores in the NFL. There are just too many solid weapons on this team for offensive output to be this low.
Speaking of weapons, Steelers wideouts were fed up postgame after the loss to New England. Pat Freiermuth suggested sticking with the up-tempo play-calling that they briefly did against the Patriots. Chase Claypool came flat out and said, “We can only do what they tell us to do and execute it,” when asked about the offense’s struggles. Diontae Johnson said, “We have to call the right plays to get down the field in the right ways.”
But at the end of the day, it is not like play calls are made the whole game where there is no one deep, in the middle of the field, etc. There are. The quarterback is the one who has to deliver the ball to those options, and so far, Mitch Trubisky has not shown the ability to do that.
What is most concerning about the Steelers offense is that there’s MULTIPLE alarming issues.
– Extremely conservative QB play
– Awful offensive line
– Very questionable play calling
A QB change can help, but it won’t solve.
— Overtime Rav (@anthonyravasio) September 18, 2022
Steelers Need to Change Something, and a Switch at QB is the Stopgap Answer
It’s hard to do anything drastic to completely revamp this offense. Firing coaches midseason is not a Steelers thing to do, and they won’t bring in any help on the offensive line (out of all three problems, the offensive line is…somehow…the least of them).
This is why making the move to Kenny Pickett, who could possibly be the better option, is vital. Trubisky has been playing not to make plays and not to get down the field with explosive plays, but to not lose the job. He’s been too safe, opting for shorter throws instead of extending the field. His decision making is poor, not understanding down and distance well at all. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly obvious that not only can Trubisky not correctly read and react to defenses, but that he has no ability to move defenders around with his eyes.
This next picture tells the whole story:
All of this is evident when you look at the scoreboard above. Look at the down and distance as well as the situation. Down in the game late, 3rd-and-8 (of course it’s 3rd and long), you would assume Trubisky should be looking for Freiermuth here or even an option that’s at or near the line to gain.
Instead, its a dump off to Harris, with Patriots corners already at the line to gain starting to converge on him. Just look at all the green in the middle of the field!
Now look below to the spray chart of every pass from Trubisky against the Patriots. 9 passes at or near the line of scrimmage and everything else spread out to the outside. One pass of 20 yards or more…to the outside. The touchdown to Freiermuth in the seam was really the only time Trubisky threw to the middle of the field successfully. Nothing even inside the numbers (outside of 1 completion and the TD) when throwing 5+ yards down the field. That is beyond bad.
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) September 18, 2022
— Josh Rowntree (@JRown32) September 18, 2022
It’s just time. No one wants to sit through the same offense from last season…again. Trubisky cannot move the ball and the players he’s throwing to are fed up. You invested a first round pick in a rookie QB that’s already 24 and saw the most pro-style defenses in all of college football last season. He proved he has at least a chance to make this team better in the preseason. If it’s sooner or later, why not sooner?
What do you think, #SteelerNation? Would you make a change at the QB position? What would you attribute the struggles on the offense to? QB play, play-calling or the offensive line? Do you see the offense getting any better this season? Let me know in the comments or @anthonyravasio on Twitter.