Steelers News

Cameron Heyward Says Defenders Must Do Better: ‘If We Can’t, Then We’ve Got The Wrong Guys In’

The Pittsburgh Steelers were ‘blown’ out for the third time this season, by my reckoning—having saved themselves from a couple of other blowout losses by coming back and at least making it interesting late in the game. But yesterday’s 36-10 domination at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs was the third time this year that they lost a game by two or more touchdowns, the other two both by the Cincinnati Bengals.

The problems are, of course, twofold: They can’t score, and they can’t stop their opponent from scoring. They were held to 10 points in each of the three games in question. They allowed 24, 41, and 36 points. They have allowed at least 36 points in two other games, which could have easily been blowouts if not for fourth-quarter comebacks that at least brought them to within on score.

So what do you do about it? Defensive captain Cameron Heyward was asked after yesterday’s game what has to change in order to turn things around; what does the message have to be to the team to make it clear that they’re still in this thing with two games left?

I think expecting something different and not doing anything different, that’s shame on us”, he said. “We’ve got to play a lot better. I think we go into the game with good gameplans, but if we don’t execute at a high level, you get a shellacking like we did today. As a defense, I expect our guys to play better; and if we can’t, then we’ve got the wrong guys in”.

He was not vague in his comments earlier in his post-game media availability; when asked if there is a certain point at which you just have to accept how things are, he responded by saying, “Excuse my language, but I ain’t accepting shit”.

Still, whether one accepts it when they are in the situation or not, there are situations in which no amount of willpower is actually going to change the end result. There are teams who are terrible in the NFL every year. Hell, it’s usually the Cleveland Browns and/or the Cincinnati Bengals, so it’s not as though Heyward is unfamiliar with what awful teams who can’t fix their problems all season look like.

It’s just that he’s never been a part of one that has had such consistently catastrophic failures on his unit time and again without a clearly diagnosable answer, beyond falling back on the injuries in the trenches with Tyson Alualu and Stephon Tuitt.

The Steelers are allowing 24.7 points per game this season. That would be the worst mark to finish a season since 1988, when they allowed 26.3 points per game. Pittsburgh allowed just 14.2 points per game in 2011, the year that Heyward was drafted.

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