The Pittsburgh Steelers were downright embarrassing at times in 2021. Here are three positions that deserve the most blame for the outcome this year.
Even the most optimistic fans had to have found it hard to look for encouragement at times during the Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 season. While some thought that they would be an improved team from the one we saw in 2020, Mike Tomlin’s squad ultimately scored six fewer points per game this season and was worse in nearly every major statistical department on both sides of the ball.
There’s plenty of blame to pass around for this — starting with some of the questionable decisions from the front office during the 2021 offseason and tricking down to the coaching staff and players. While the game plan was not great this year, the execution was equally as poor. Here are three positional groups that deserve the most blame for Pittsburgh’s embarrassing 2021 season:
3. Steelers defensive line
I’ve got to be honest, this is not a position I thought I would be criticizing before the start of the season. Leading up to training camp, I thought the Steelers defensive line was the strongest and deepest positional group on their team and one of the very best units in the NFL.
On paper, it wasn’t hard to see why. Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt were a lethal pairing in the middle of Pittsburgh’s defense while Tyson Alualu and Chris Wormley offered quality depth and veteran leadership. The Steelers also had some young players who were sure to get into the mix at some point with Carlos Davis and rookie Isaiahh Loudermilk.
Unfortunately, this is hardly the squad we saw in 2021. Tuitt never played a down for the team this year after tragically losing his brother in a hit-and-run incident over the summer, while Alualu broke his ankle in Week 2 and was out for the season. Meanwhile, Davis played in just 4 games this year while dealing with injuries.
This unit really took quite the hit in 2021, and it had a major impact on Pittburgh’s run defense. I expect the Steelers defensive line to be improved in 2022, but I would have never guessed that I would have talked about them as a bottom-three positional group this past season.