The Pittsburgh Steelers currently have the worst offense in the NFL. Here are the two people who deserve the most blame for their struggles.
I can’t imagine a soul being content with the disaster that we witnessed in Week 2 by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even without T.J. Watt, the defense did their part for the second straight week — allowing just 17 points to the Patriots. However, they couldn’t expect them to bail out the offense against the Patriots as they did vs the Bengals in Week 1.
Eventually, the Steelers would swallow the loss. While there were some positives to note, not many of them came on the offensive side of the ball. Watching the game live, I voiced that it looked like a combination of Matt Canada and Mitch Trubisky were the most to blame for the dismal offensive performance. Upon further examination, this proved to be the case.
On Monday morning, I rewatched the Steelers-Patriots game in its entirety — stopping to rewind each play several times. I sensed a recurring trend: it seemed like one of Canada or Trubisky could be blamed for nearly everything that happened in the passing game.
Matt Canada’s playcalling was far too scripted
This was one of my biggest takeaways from the loss immediately after the game. However, after watching the game a second time, Matt Canada’s offense was even more concerning. Perhaps in an effort to protect Mitch Trubisky from going through reads and turning the ball over, there were half-a-dozen scripted QB rollouts that appeared to be one-read options. These plays weren’t very successful and almost never resulted in first downs.
What’s equally as concerning as Canada’s scripted game plan was the ugly route concepts. On more than one occasion, I witnessed receivers running into each other. The spacing was truly awful. One of my least favorites was a passing play where three receivers ran curl routes with George Pickens on a go route.
What happened to using wide receivers across the middle of the field or running pick plays? None of this stuff seems to be in the playbook anymore, and Canada deserves plenty of ridicule for the loss.
Mitch Trubisky is just as much to blame
It seems like many fans are either head-hunting Matt Canada or Mitch Trubisky, but I’m here to tell you that it truly was an even split of both who were responsible for the abysmal offensive performance in the passing game against the Patriots in Week 2. While Trubisky wasn’t assisted by creative play design, he made plenty of mistakes of his own.
In true pass sets, he was far too comfortable checking the ball down underneath. When watching the film again, Trubiksy didn’t see some wide-open receivers down the field. I also thought he did a horrible job scanning the field and going through progressions. The Steelers quarterback simply locked onto his target and went with his first read. He must do a better job of being patient in the pocket and reading the defense high to low or Pittsburgh’s passing game isn’t going to come up with any big plays.
Steelers offensive line is hardly to blame
One thing I would not recommend doing after the loss to the Patriots is using the offensive line as a scapegoat. Though this may come as a surprise, I actually thought the offensive line played quite well. According to Pro Football Focus, Chukwuma Okorafor, James Daniels, Kevin Dotson, and Mason Cole each graded out among the top-five offensive players on the Steelers in Week 2. The film backs this up.
Though the team didn’t find much success on the ground again this week, Najee Harris missed some big holes, and we have the right to start questioning his vision. In terms of pass protection, this unit was very solid against New England, and Trubisky was almost exclusively responsible for the sacks and hits that he took.
Something has to be done about the atrocious performance of the offense. Unfortunately, it starts with two of the most important people: the offensive coordinator and the quarterback. If we see more of the same in Week 3, some big changes could be coming soon.