The Pittsburgh Steelers have been Less Than Great on their opening drives offensively so far this season, and really, generally, their first few drives. It’s not uncommon that they end up without any points scored offensively through two or three drives this year, which is not what you want, but it can’t be said that it has cost them any games.
Monday’s game against the Washington Football Team was no exception, and even reached new levels of ineptitude. They actually went three and out on each of their first two drives, which is the first time that they have done that all season. They managed one third down on their third drive, a 30-yard pass to James Washington, but quickly stalled and punted after that.
Despite the poor early showing, they still had a 14-0 lead late in the first half, and a 14-3 lead at halftime, so it didn’t cost them the game, but in a vacuum, you always want to do better to start off the game. It’s certainly never a disadvantage to score a couple of times in the first quarter.
With that said, it’s not exactly high on head coach Mike Tomlin’s To Do List, at least according to the comments that he made yesterday during his pre-game press conference when he was asked about the offense’s inability to get off on a good footing.
“It’s a 60-minute game. I realize we have to get off to the fastest start but starts don’t define us”, he said. “I haven’t dwelled on that a lot. In most instances, we put our defense on the field to start games. I think this last game is probably one of the few where we got the ball to start the game, so there hasn’t been a lot of possessions in the first quarter. There’s just a lot of other fish to fry in terms of a pecking order in terms of the things that have my attention right now”.
It should be kept in mind that the Steelers are not struggling out of the gate just because the play-calling is bad. On the first play of the game on Monday, James Washington had his man beat down the right sideline. If Ben Roethlisberger makes a better throw—one that is at least inbounds—we might be having a different discussion.
But there are a lot of other fish to fry, bigger fish, and that starts with being able to catch them before you slap them down in the pan. The fish have seemingly been extra slippery lately, because a lot of them have ended up on the ground.