What we learned from Pittsburgh Steelers dreadful loss vs the Dolphins

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talks to Miami Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert (31) after a game at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talks to Miami Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert (31) after a game at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports /

The Steelers dropped yet another contest, this time to the Miami Dolphins. Here’s what we learned from the disheartening loss.

In what is becoming an all too familiar refrain, the Steelers lost yet another game, another AFC Conference game, on Sunday Night Football.  The opponent this time was the Miami Dolphins. While the score was close, we could have and, frankly, should have won the game.

It’s not as if we did not have our chance to do so.  The bottom line is this:  The Steelers could not ‘seal the deal’ when it mattered the most.  Despite not playing particularly well in the first half, the defense was able to keep the Dolphins off the scoreboard in the second half, but to no avail.

Let’s see what we learned on the offensive side of the ball.

The Steelers offense needs to find ways to score points

According to ESPN, the Steelers offense ran a total of sixty-nine plays over twelve drives and managed to score a whopping ten points. Scoring ten points in an NFL game is generally not going to result in victory and it did not produce that result against the Dolphins.

I really do not know what else to say about the state of the 2022 offense.  It is not good and does not look like it is getting better.  Against the Dolphins, we converted four of fourteen third-down attempts, which translates into a twenty-eight and half percent conversion rate.  That is dreadful.

What is also dreadful is the playcalling.  Why Matt Canada is still the offensive coordinator is beyond me.  I realize it would be difficult to replace Canada mid-season, but if Mike Tomlin does not want to endure his first losing season as Head Coach, he will do what is necessary to attempt to salvage a season that may already be a lost cause.

Let’s see what we learned on the defensive side of the ball.

The Steelers blanked the Dolphins in the second half

For the defense, I think it really was a ‘tale of two cities’.  After allowing sixteen points in the first half and looking like the proverbial dam was about to burst, the defense made the necessary adjustments to hold the Dolphins offense scoreless in the second half.

My question is this:  Why not just open the game in the same manner in which we played the second half?  I realize it’s a moot point now, but how nice would it have been to completely shut down the Dolphins offense?

The Steelers defense gave some yards, three-hundred and seventy-two to be exact, and gave up an average of six yards per play, but when it mattered, we shut ’em down in the second half.  A concern for me is the continued lack of consistent pressure.

Sans T.J. Watt, the defense simply cannot generate pressure consistently.  That is not a knock on the defense; that is a fact based on what has transpired since Watt has been sidelined with injury. Consistent pressure is what is needed and was needed against the Dolphins and we just were not able to get to the opposing QB.

Let’s see what else we learned.

The Steelers Head Coach is at a crossroads

Make no mistake, after another conference loss, the Steelers may already be out of playoff contention.  The offense is terrible and the defense is not much better.  That puts Tomlin squarely in the middle of what is transpiring.

I have to think that ‘Coach T’ knows what he and he alone must do on the offensive side of the ball; however, replacing Canada now is easier said than done.  We are also at that point on the defensive side of the ball.

I know the defense was able to hold the Dolphins scoreless in the second half but were those adjustments made by Tomlin, Teryl Austin, or both? I would like to think the adjustments were made by both parties, but I suspect it was more on Tomlin than it was on Austin.

Regardless of who made the adjustments, the damage was already done in the first half.  For an offense that is struggling to score points, the defense had to play near-flawless football in order to beat the Dolphins and that did not happen.

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Tomlin is at a crossroads.  The question is which path he will take.  For our sake, I hope it is the correct path.  If the incorrect path is chosen, the season will be over sooner rather than later and that would be a travesty.