The good, the bad and the ugly from the Steelers loss against the Patriots
The Steelers just could not move the ball on offense to sustain drives.
When the team for which you root and have rooted for the last 41 years gets utterly destroyed in the season opener, there are bound to be a plethora of bad facets of the game on both sides of the ball. Let’s start with the game plan on offense.
We, as Steelers fans, are obviously not privy to the process by which a game plan is developed; however, the Steelers offense for the last 41 years of my watching them has been about ball control, establishing the run to set up the pass and taking a shot deep when the opportunity presented itself.
The Steelers did not possess the ball enough to win, we did not run the ball effectively enough to keep the chains moving and, although we took our shots deep, the Steelers just couldn’t get any rhythm going on offense. So why were the Steelers unable to execute the game plan effectively?
From the outside looking in, we did not establish the running game. The Steelers were held to 32 yards rushing. That is a recipe for disaster. Once we got down ‘big’, we had to throw the ball, but it looked like the Steelers just did not want to employ the power run game.
There were at least three occasions where the Steelers were in third and one and could not convert. On one sequence, we ran a quick pitch out of what looked like a ‘Bunch’ formation to James Conner that resulted in a 4-yard loss. Why was Rosie Nix not on the filed in that situation? These are the situations for which he is on the team.
To put this into perspective, we converted 1 out of 4 third-down attempts. This, too, is a recipe for disaster. You have to be able to convert third and short if you want to win games. The Steelers just couldn’t do that against the Patriots.
If the game plan on offense was to try to establish to run out of a ‘Bunch’ formation with a quick pitch, that is not a good game plan, in my opinion. We completely got away from formations and schemes that have proven to be successful, e.g. ‘zone split’ with a TE coming across the formation, two TE sets and power formations with a fullback.
What Steelers fans witnessed last night was perhaps us trying to get too ‘cute’ on offense. Instead of outsmarting the Patriots, we outsmarted ourselves. What we also witnessed was an offense settling for 3 points rather than trying to score a TD on 4th and 1 at the goal line, down by 20 points.
Let’s take a look at the defensive game plan.