4 takeaways from Steelers ugly playoff loss to the Browns

Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Leadership was lacking

Mike Tomlin is a good coach. Since signing on all the way back in 2007, he has boasted one of the best records in the NFL and he doesn’t have a single losing season to blemish his record. Unfortunately, his lack of leadership often comes into question in moments like these.

Players will follow the example of their head coach. So when Tomlin talks about the Browns as ‘nameless gray faces’ in front of his players, it’s no surprise to see them repeat this sort of talk to the media. While the blame for this embarrassing loss clearly doesn’t fall all on Mike Tomlin, there’s no doubt that JuJu Smith-Schuster’s comments fueled a hungry Browns team that simply wanted it more than the Steelers – Baker Mayfield made that abundantly clear.

Cleveland was an 11-5 football team this season. It was completely inexcusable and irrational of Tomlin and his team to take them lightly in this contest. This is the same Browns team that Pittsburgh blew out of the water with a 38-7 win back in Week 6. Now, Pittsburgh is the laughing stock. This type of play to ‘inferior’ opponents has happened far too often under the leadership of Mike Tomlin, and it is something that must be corrected. Despite this reputation as one of the better teams in the league, Pittsburgh hasn’t won a playoff game since 2016, and something needs to change soon.