One thing that we have been able to take away from the past two weeks of football is the fact that neither the offense nor the defense have been able to play up to par for the Pittsburgh Steelers during their two-game losing streak, through which they have been outscored by a margin of 57 to 31.
But we have also gathered that, particularly from this past Sunday’s game, the Steelers have struggled in getting out of their own way and being their own worst enemy. For an offensive unit that has not scored more than 16 points in a couple of weeks, this is a group that sees all of the missed opportunities lain out in front of them.
Just last week, the offense got into the red zone four times, but only came away with a touchdown on one of the four trips. On two of the trips inside the red zone, they actually walked away with no points at all. That was at a minimum a six-point swing in an 11-point loss that could have easily changed the complexion of the game in the way that is unfolded.
This was the same thing that offensive coordinator Todd Haley took away from the loss to the Patriots, refusing to use the shorthanded personnel available to them as a blame-all for their offensive troubles. “That can’t be an excuse for us”, he told reporters recently about the number of injuries they are dealing with.
“Whoever’s in there has to execute what they’re supposed to do, do their job on a down-in, down-out basis. We’re not looking for excuses”. And he’s right. Really the only excuse for the way that the offense performed on Sunday was a pretty basic lack of execution, a consideration that includes within it the nine offensive penalties.
“We had every opportunity to put ourselves in position to win last Sunday and little execution details was the reason, at least on our side of the ball, we didn’t get it done”, Haley told reporters. “They’re all doable things, it’s just guys doing what they’re supposed to do and doing it how they’re supposed to do it and we would have been plenty good enough to score enough points to have a chance to win”.
Part of the lack of execution, admittedly, came from the quarterback position, with Landry Jones under center, though overall he played a relatively good game with all things considered.
Haley told reporters that the team was “on point with what we wanted to do”, but added that “we hit the red zone and it just wasn’t in our favor”. He said that “Landry managed the game the way he was supposed to”, but said, ultimately, that the offense “didn’t capitalize” on the turnovers and red-zone opportunities.
It wasn’t all on Jones, of course. But with the extra time to take stock of where they are as a unit, and to get healthy, the hope is that the Steelers will come out of the break ready to resume their pursuit of 30 points per game.