Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Let me begin this post by stating that I am happy that the Steelers have a reliable kicker on their roster in the form of Shaun Suisham. In fact, it is a huge plus for any team to turn to a guy who can salvage drives with points to extended leads or chip away at them.
Yet let me be the first to say that I would rather see Suisham on the field kicking extra points and on kickoffs than helping this team play damage control when the offense stalls inside their opponents’ red zones.
The latter has happened far too often this season, and the Steelers and offensive coordinator Todd Haley must find ways to fix their red zone scoring issues.
As it stands, Pittsburgh ranks 31st in red zone touchdown scoring percentage (37.5%) and only the 0-7 Jacksonville Jaguars have scored touchdowns inside their opponents’ twenties at a lower rate. From issues with play-calling, pass-protection, run-blocking, and penalties, the Steelers have simply not been able to make teams pay on the scoreboard.
Yesterday they went 1/3 during their red zone trips, and one touchdown on those two missed attempts would have sealed the game before the Ravens made things interesting in the fourth quarter. To his credit though, Suisham came up big and extended Pittsburgh’s lead back to seven points twice in the second half. Nevertheless, Pittsburgh’s offense moved the ball well enough to win that game handily.
The Steelers are averaging a paltry 17.8 points per game right now, and this can directly be traced to their issues in the red zone.
At 2-4, they must find ways to convert their scoring chances into touchdowns if they wish to stay alive in the postseason chase, and converting only 37.5 percent of their red zone trips into “sevens” will not cut the mustard down the stretch..
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