The Steelers squandered a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter to let one get away against the New York Jets
The game the Steelers lost against the New York Jets at home was demoralizing, to say the least. First, we rallied to overcome a ten-point deficit, then gained a ten-point lead but gave up fourteen points in the fourth quarter.
Sadly, this loss is not only another home loss but, more importantly, it is another conference loss. Make no mistake, having already lost three conference games, it will take a monumental effort to overcome these losses.
Through four games of the 2022 season, we are a one-win team. Let that sink in for a moment. Roughly a quarter of the way through the season, the Steelers have one win. The reality is we should have three wins, but as we sit here right now, we are a one-win team. Let’s see what we learned on the offensive side of the ball.
The Steelers made a change at QB and found a spark but ultimately it was not enough to secure victory
Trailing by four points at halftime, Mike Tomlin made the decision to replace Mitch Trubisky with our 2022 first-round pick, Kenny Pickett. According to ESPN, the stat line on Trubisky was pretty uneventful, completing only seven passes for eighty-four yards to go along with one INT.
Although Pickett provided the spark on offense that I think Tomlin was hoping for, the Jets had other ideas as they rallied to win the game. The loss is on the defense as we will discuss shortly, but overall, I thought Pickett played well, despite throwing three INTs, but that stat line does not tell the whole story.
If you did not watch the game, I would encourage you to do so. You will undoubtedly see what I saw which was a noticeable uptick in execution after Pickett entered the game. That may be coincidental, but I dare say it is not. I think Pickett just provides some intangibles that Trubisky does not.
Steelers defense was a letdown once again
As I stated earlier, the loss to the Jets is on the defense. Yes, between Trubisky and Pickett, the offense turned the ball over more than anyone would have liked, but the defense simply could not get a stop when we needed one.
Normally, when the Steelers have a two-possession lead in the fourth quarter, we win those games, but not against the Jets. The pass defense was porous, allowing twelve first downs through the air.
We gave up a total of three-hundred and forty-eight yards — two-hundred and fifty of which came via the passing game. Once again, the Steelers could not generate pressure with any consistency and the cornerbacks were routinely exposed.
I blame this on Teryl Austin. Unless Tomlin is the de facto defensive coordinator, Austin needs to pin this loss on himself. I honestly do not know why the Steelers ‘D’ cannot get off the field on third and long or routinely gives up ‘chunk’ plays in the passing game.
I have a theory that may answer the aforementioned, but frankly, it does not matter unless Tomlin is willing to concede that he may have made a mistake by promoting Austin to defensive coordinator.
Let’s see what else we learned.
Mike Tomlin is hurtling toward the first losing season under his ‘watch’
The game against the Jets was a must-win game for several reasons. First, it would have evened our record at two wins and two losses, which is infinitely better than where we are right now. Second, we would have avoided another conference loss.
Obviously, conference wins are preferable to conference losses. Third, it would have the Steelers first home win of the season, which, again, did not come to pass. Last but not least, a one-win Steelers team after four weeks of the 2022 season will probably mean that Tomlin will experience the first losing season of his tenure.
It does not have to come to fruition. Tomlin has it in his power to make the necessary changes to avoid what Steelers fans dread the most, a losing campaign. Putting Pickett in against the Jets was a step in the right direction, but more steps are required to back on the winning track.