It’s far too late and there are far too few options for the Pittsburgh Steelers to address their many issues that have plagued them throughout the 2021 season. They are sitting at 7-7-1 with two games left to play in the regular season, and their playoff hopes are perched precariously on a precipice.
One thing that one could reasonably assume can be fixed, however, is the ‘slow starts’ they have gone off to most of the year, which is just another way of saying that they’re not scoring very much until the second half—mostly in the fourth quarter. There is no overarching particular reason that they would score more in the fourth than in the first, so how do they address it?
“We can score in the first half. That’s what our intentions are”, head coach Mike Tomlin said when asked that question on Tuesday during his pre-game press conference. The Steelers have done five consecutive games without scoring a single touchdown in the first half, their longest such streak since 1940—the first year they had the name the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“We’ve come up short. I’m not going to run away from that. It is what it is”, Tomlin said of the lack of scoring early in games. “I’m not going to try to explain it away. We can sit in settings like this and talk about it all day and you can walk away about feeling good my answer and write a story, but that doesn’t solve the problem. Actions does”.
Of course, what was sought was examples of what some of those actions might be that he has in mind to work on improving their first-half offense, but he wasn’t particularly interested in trying to rattle off a list of woes. He offered only, “We have an additional 24 hours of prep. We plan to use it from a schematic standpoint”.
He also talked about getting a number of players back in terms of available, either due to injury or due to COVID. Tight end Pat Freiermuth missed last week’s game due to a concussion. Left guard Kevin Dotson has missed the past month due to an ankle injury. That’s about all the reinforcements they can expect, though.
And in the meanwhile, they’re adjusting to a new offensive line coach after Adrian Klemm was granted leave to depart for a new job at Oregon. Chris Morgan, who was hired this year as his assistant, will take over, perhaps as an audition to take over the role outright next year.
I can’t imagine that’s going to make it more likely that they will put up a few touchdowns in the first half. They did only manage a field goal the first time they played the Cleveland Browns this year, even if they ended up winning 15-10.