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Matt Canada Says Steelers Offense ‘Just Needs To Keep Being Consistent’

After the Pittsburgh Steelers scored a touchdown on their opening drive against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their 20-18 win last Sunday, their offense stagnated a bit as the team failed to score again until 4:06 left in the first half, albeit on their third drive of the game. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada touched on the need for more consistency in the offense.

“We’ve just got to keep being consistent. You go out there and look at the first drive of the game, we went down and scored. We had a miscommunication on the second drive. Third drive, we had another long drive, and we had a field goal. I think we’re starting to see some things but it’s not enough. We have to be more consistent. Mitch [Trubisky] came in and did a tremendous job, and that’s certainly a great job by him coming in in that situation and doing what he did,” Canada said via an official transcript provided by the team.

After forcing a three-and-out, Kenny Pickett and the offense put together an 11-play, 66-yard drive that was capped off with a passing touchdown to Kenny Pickett. The drive got extended by a third down roughing the passing penalty against Buccaneers linebacker Devin White, but the Steelers did a good job converting on early downs and had a fourth down conversion by Jaylen Warren on the drive. Tampa Bay responded with a field goal, and then Pittsburgh went three-and-out when Kenny Pickett was sacked on third down. Canada touched on a miscommunication, and I’m assuming that came on the third down sack as Shaq Barrett came in untouched, which allowed Antoine Winfield Jr., blitzing from the corner spot, to pick up an easy sack when Pickett tried to evade Barrett.

Pittsburgh didn’t move the ball great on the third drive in terms of yardage (44 yards), but Boswell managed to make a 55-yard field goal that hit off the crossbar and went in. Plus, the 12-play drive took 6:54 off the clock, which helped Pittsburgh’s defense get a breather and left some tired legs on Tampa Bay’s defense. As a whole, despite getting the win, the Steelers’ offense didn’t do enough. While Canada called a much, much better game than he usually has this season, Pittsburgh was aided by an 89-yard kickoff return by Steven Sims in a drive that ended in a field goal to start the second half. Their second touchdown drive was well run, as Pittsburgh picked up their first double explosive play of the year on a 45-yard pass to Connor Heyward and converted twice on 3rd and long on their final drive to clinch the victory.

Canada’s right that the team has to be more consistent, though. While the miscommunication on third down on the second drive hurt, it was still a 3rd and 7 which is by no means a lock for a conversion. Canada’s gotten criticized this year by more people than can fit in Judge Judy’s yacht, but it’s fair to say that he’s somewhat responsible for some of the inconsistencies of the offense. In past games, the team would have success with tempo and then go away from using it entirely. They would have success throwing on early downs, and then run the ball on both first and second down. Not to mention frequently calling the same play out of the same personnel.

With all that being said, he did a fine job on Sunday. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a lot better than what we saw in the prior five weeks. But the consistency has to be there. The defense played an incredible game on Sunday, but there are not a lot of weeks where 20 points will be enough to win. The Steelers have to find a way to put more points on the board and do so early in games. The most first-half points the team has all season are 14 in Week 3 against the Cleveland Browns, and that effort was met with a second half where they could only muster three points.

When something is working, like using tempo, stick with it until it doesn’t. You could make the excuse that Canada doesn’t want teams to know what’s coming, but his track record of reusing plays in the same game sort of eats away at that argument. But one thing the offense did on Sunday was maintaining drives, and that’s what has to continue. The drives where they scored and the drive at the end of the game were 11 plays, 12 plays, 5 plays (after the Sims kick return), 8 plays, and 10 plays, with the latter two coming with Mitch Trubisky in the game after Pickett exited with a concussion. Explosive plays are awesome when they work, but consistently putting together longer drives and eating away at the clock or using tempo to go against a tired defense on those long drives are things that will help this team win games, and it’s something that they continue to do consistently.

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