The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered a devastating loss on Sunday to their arch-rivals the Baltimore Ravens. A big reason for the loss was the play of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and the three interceptions he threw after coming into the game for an injured Kenny Pickett.
In CBS Sports’ weekly article, “One Thing We Learned About Each NFL Team” Jeff Kerr believes that Trubisky did not target his playmakers enough, and that played a big part in the loss.
“On a day where the run game went back to reality, Trubisky needed to target Pickens and Johnson in the offense to move the chains and put points on the board,” wrote Kerr. “Instead, Steven Sims finished with more targets than Pickens.”
George Pickens’ lack of targets has been frustrating fans all season, and Sunday was no different. Pickens finished the game with three targets. Those three targets resulted in three receptions and 78 offensive yards. Pickens also drew a pass interference penalty on the goal line. He was very effective, yet Trubisky did not look his way often enough.
However, Trubisky did target Johnson often and that got him in some trouble. In the third quarter, he took a deep shot to Johnson when he was double covered which resulted in an interception and squandered good field position.
The problem was not that Trubisky did not target his playmakers on Sunday. In fact, Johnson received a team-high eight targets and tight end Pat Freiermuth saw six. Other than Pickens, who consistently does not get enough targets, Trubisky got in trouble for forcing the ball to his top targets. If Trubisky decided to not take a deep shot to Johnson, or go to a second read off of Freiermuth, the Steelers score at least three more points and win the game on Sunday.
There were a lot of problems on the Steelers’ sideline on Sunday, but Trubisky not targeting his playmakers was not one of them. While I do appreciate the aggression he showed at times on Sunday, too often Trubisky tried to make a play when there was none there. While admirable, you just cannot do that against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens entered the game on Sunday tied for the most in the AFC with 20 takeaways. Trubisky had to be careful with the ball and he wasn’t. That’s what cost Pittsburgh the game, not the lack of targets the Steelers’ playmakers had.