It’s usually safe to say that losing to a 2-10 team when you are a team with a record close to .667 generally involves failures on multiple different fronts, and that would be an accurate assessment of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
While the injury to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger that resulted in him missing about 25 of the 30 minutes played in the second half was obviously a major and defining part of the game, the bottom line is that the Steelers had ample opportunities to put the game away, offensively, defensively, and on special teams, and they failed on almost every front—and I suppose every front that didn’t include Roethlisberger being on the field.
It may not surprise you to learn that this was Head Coach Mike Tomlin’s overall assessment of his team’s failure on Sunday in Oakland, observing that fault lies along many different components of the game, in preparation and performance.
“There are also reasons why that happened and we have to look at all reasons, what we are doing as coaches in terms of putting those guys in position to take advantage of those opportunities, who we are utilizing and the detail to which they’re working”, he told reporters yesterday during his pre-game press conference.
“Very much like the kicking scenario, we are open to all possibilities as we stand here this afternoon in preparation and an effort to change that outcome”, he continued, referring to kicker Chris Boswell’s struggles and his statement that they would look at new kickers this week as potential alternatives.
“One thing we aren’t going to do is we are not going to hope and wish. We are not going through our processes in which we have and just hope that the outcome changes”, Tomlin went on, declaring the necessity of taking an active role in making changes to alter the outcomes they have been having.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean that we are going to do things dramatically different, but we are not going to sit on our hands. We are not going to hope”, he went on. “That’s not what professionals do, particularly ones in the position that we’re in. We are going to actively seek victory. We are going to actively seek the change necessary to change the outcome of a few plays which will thus change the outcome of a game. That’s life for us”.
And as it always is in sports, that’s life for the fans, too, who live through these losing streaks just as much as do the players and the coaches. Especially in a sports-oriented city like Pittsburgh, an extended losing streak can really hang over the broader community like a cloud.