Steelers Mike Tomlin’s post-game comments reflect a needed wake up call
As the trend of wins continue in Pittsburgh, concerning patterns are starting to develop within the Steelers that could bite them sooner rather than later.
The Pittsburgh Steelers escaped, a tagline that could fit nearly every game they played in the past month. This truth remains after defeating the Baltimore Ravens, 19-14 in an ugly matchup.
Steelers completed the sweep of their AFC North rival, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 2017, the result didn’t feel as rewarding. Although the fashion of how this matchup played out in week 12 correlates with the history between these two teams, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said it perfectly.
Tomlin’s words representing a portion of the whole; they hold a heavier weight than what’s simply being said. The two biggest accomplices of their success on the year, preparation & execution, is dwindling & starting to filter themselves away from the team at the worst time.
In the Steelers defense…
Understandably, the number of times this game would be postponed was never to be expected. Initially, in the evening slot on Thanksgiving, having to wait nearly another week only resurfaces the frustration from the first postponement the Steelers had to deal with earlier in the season.
However, playing during the height of a global pandemic, unequivocally predicts unprecedented challenges to occur. Pittsburgh has dealt the ramifications from it nearly more than anyone else, but nothing creates a legitimate excuse.
Likewise, the majority of the performances they have strung together in the past month. Known, but in this scenario masked, as “trap games,” the Steelers typically struggle when competing against lesser teams. In this instance, the Dallas Cowboys, Cincinnati Bengals, and Jacksonville Jaguars, but the trends occurring within these games are beginning to shadow them.
In just one of the previous four weeks, the Steelers scored an offensive touchdown in the first quarter & surpassed 70+ rushing yards as a team. If not for the two turnovers the defense has caused on average and allowing only 11.5 points per game could the Steelers continue to remain unbeaten? Are the sudden offensive explosions enough to keep them at 11-0?
Projecting hypotheticals may not be the best idea, but will these stats hold up when they face other top AFC opponents? Although Pittsburgh has already shown their will against Tennessee, the Titans rank top five in the NFL along with the Kansas City Chiefs & Buffalo Bills in first-quarter points per game, as well as top ten when in the fourth.
In other words, this performance by the Steelers provided the year’s “wake-up call.”Tomlin’s remarks reflect that by bluntly stating the whole team was nowhere near their standard & never mentioning the ever-changing situation leading up to this game as a contributing factor.
Pittsburgh has proven, although many still do not hold this belief, they are capable of beating anyone at literally anytime. Fixing the consistent minor issues that again exposed themselves against a decimated Ravens roster from the slow offensive starts to allowing big plays on defense is, however, critical.
As Tomlin said, “we’re fortunate tonight. It’s good to proceed with a victory, I acknowledge that, but not a lot happened tonight to be proud of or to be excited about”.