Now that we are 48 hours past the rather lackluster performance of the Pittsburgh Steelers offense in Sunday’s 20-17 loss to the hands of the New England Patriots, it’s become quite clear that it’s not just Mitch Trubisky who is having issues, averaging just 4.85 YPP in his first two games. Trubisky was not that great again, given the fact that his offensive line didn’t perform too poorly for a second straight week, despite giving up three sacks. There is plenty of blame to go around, so let’s shovel through this mess and dish some around starting with offensive coordinator, Matt Canada.
Canada started out his career already on a leash with Ben Roethlisberger having the run of things. Given his limitations at the end of his career, Canada probably didn’t come into a situation like many do with an ability to change a lot. Once Roethlisberger retired, the hope was that Canada would get a bit more aggressive with his play-calling, opening up the middle of the field for Trubisky to utilize his very capable wide receiver corp. Sadly, he hasn’t.
In two games, virtually zero balls have made their way to the middle of the field over 10 yards. It’s confusing. What hasn’t helped is Trubisky is missing a number of his underneath targets inside 10 yards on Sunday. Call it happy feet or what have you, but if Trubisky can’t throw deep to the middle, he has to be more accurate with what he’s got to work with.
Meanwhile, Najee Harris caught some flack after Sunday also, missing some wide gaps to run into, instead choosing alternate lanes that closed quickly. One in particular on the game’s very first play.
I had to watch it again to make sure I wasn’t trippin. This was the first play of the game. It is blocked almost to perfection! Look at that interior push! There is no read here that tells Najee to bounce it. He predetermined this. Man this angers me so much… pic.twitter.com/2RymZ7nLRD
— Trai Essex (@TraiDay79) September 19, 2022
Another play saw Najee staring at a lane in the A-gap wide enough for even myself to rumble through. Harris chose to bounce to the B-gap for a 3-yard gain.
— Josh Rowntree (@JRown32) September 19, 2022
My issue with this entire scenario has several thoughts. For starters, is Harris’ ankle capable of making such sharp cuts? I honestly felt he should have sat on Sunday in favor of Jaylen Warren. Secondly, Pats NT Carl Davis Jr. had a clear leverage advantage on Steelers center, Mason Cole. Without the ability to cut so sharp, so instantly, I don’t know if Harris gets more yardage on that play. Of course the Yinzer mob felt otherwise, but if you go back and look, how can you tell if his decision to run left was right or not?
These are just a few plays of several where Harris made decisions others are nit-picking and could have some merit to.
Can Steelers’ Matt Candada Fix Passing Woes Against Browns?
Mike Tomlin has to again take some of this burden on. He’s the boss and is responsible for both wins and losses. He’s also now 3-9 S/U vs. Bill Belichick. But hey, he’s never had a losing season, AM I RIGHT?! Not to mention, where is George Pickens for crying out loud?! Can somebody put an APB out for this man?! Just one catch for the second straight week. 26 yards total. He looked so good in camp and in preseason, yet… crickets so far from him. Why? Well, we should go back to Canada and ask that maybe this is the week to, you know, THROW THE BALL DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE FIELD?! Just a suggestion.
If you don’t believe me, just take a look at what some of his offensive players said after the game and got the attention of the media and fans: https://www.steelernation.com/steelers-players-criticize-play-calling/
The real question is, how long will Tomlin tolerate this from his OC? Given that old man Joe Flacco tossed the ball for 307 against the Cleveland Browns Sunday, pulling off a comeback win, plus the Brownies will likely be without the services of Jadeveon Clowney due to injury. If there was ever a time to try and sling the ball downfield, Thursday night is it.
Will the Steelers Pass Rush Improve Thursday Night?
As for the defense, it’s sad to say, but the impact of not having TJ Watt is a costly one for the Steelers. They placed virtually zero pressure on Mac Jones, who had gobs of time to throw on Sunday. His one interception came off of a deflection. He was not sacked at all. Given how steady Jacoby Brissett has played, completing 65% of his passes while also averaging over 5 yards per rush, there needs to be a serious change in how they attack this offense that is chewing up yards on the ground at over 5 yards per clip.
Both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt will have to be slowed down somehow. Having produced just two offensive touchdowns in two games, the Steelers can’t afford to get behind early.
Finally, will Kenny Pickett see time this week? If the offense is struggling and down at the half, if Trubisky is given the green light to throw deep and can’t connect, I say yes. With the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles on deck, how can Tomlin continue to watch his offense bomb and not give the kid a series or three?
Sound off, Steeler Nation. will Trubisky bounce back? Or will the rookie see his first action of 2022 sooner rather than later? Click to comment below!