2022 Steelers could be one of the worst statistically of the modern era

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on the sidelines against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on the sidelines against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers may end up being one of the worst teams of the modern era. Here’s why it’s possible. 

With eight games under our belts, the 2022 Steelers look like we may finish as one of the worst statical teams of the modern era. A couple of points of clarification if I may. The modern era is generally agreed to have started in the 1930s, so when I say the modern era, I really mean the era that started with the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.

Nonetheless, if you have watched the Steelers play so far this season, you have perhaps arrived at the same conclusion at which I have arrived which is this:  The 2022 iteration is not a very good football team right now.

Changes need to be made, make no doubt.  Some of those changes may be easier implemented than others, such as giving some players more playing time while reducing the snaps of other players. Other changes, such as relieving both Matt Canada and Teryl Austin of their duties, may have to wait until the season is over.

The Steelers are not playing well on offense

To say that we are not playing well on either side is an understatement of epic proportions. Through eight games of the season, according to ESPN, the Steelers offense is ranked twenty-eighth in total yards per game, ranked twenty-sixth in rushing yards per game, and ranked dead last in points per game.

Let that sink in for a moment.  We are the worst-scoring team in the NFL.  I honestly cannot remember a time when the offense was this anemic.  Since my goal is to not overwhelm you with statistics, let’s leave it at that.  I just cannot remember off the top of my head a worse offense.

To round up the statistical discussion about the offense, we are converting third downs at a little under thirty-four percent clip, which is ranked twenty-eighth, we are top ten in penalties, and we are ranked fourth worst in giveaways.

The Steelers are not playing well on defense

Similar to what is transpiring on the offensive side of the ball, the defense is not looking good right now.  We are ranked twenty-ninth in total yards allowed per game, are ranked twenty-fourth in total points allowed per game, and are ranked thirty-first in passing yards allowed per game.

That is awful.  When was the last time a Steelers defense was this bad through eight games of a season?  Again, I simply cannot remember. I realize the defense has played most of the season without T.J. Watt, who has been sidelined with an injury for seven games, but what happened to the ‘next man up’ mantra?

I believe part of the reason we are struggling this mightily is because of the lack of quality depth at key positions.  The other reason we are struggling is that Austin has simply not been able to adjust the scheme without a consistent pass rush.  Rush and coverage go hand in hand. The rush has been inconsistent and the coverage has been subpar.

Steelers Mike Tomlin may have a lot of questions to answer at the end of the season

Let’s just call this what it is, the 2022 season thus far has been trying for Mike Tomlin.  He decided to retain Canada as the offensive coordinator after a poor showing in 2021.  He decided to promote Austin after Keith Butler decided to retire or was retired, however that came to pass.

Although the Steelers are sitting at two wins and six losses, it is possible, although improbable, that we could go on a bit of a streak to finish the season with a winning record.  I personally do not see that happening.

There are winnable games remaining but since Tomlin has made no changes to the coaching staff, it is tantamount to the definition of insanity.  I believe Tomlin knows that changes need to and should be made.  I doubt very much that he would accept the fact that the Steelers could have a losing record.

No one in the organization wants to lose, but that is what we are doing right now.  The Steelers are losing right now for various reasons but losing because of bad schemes on offense and on defense can be rectified.

The question is this:  Is Tomlin capable and willing to do what is required to extricate the team from the quagmire in which we find ourselves?  We are not good on either side of the ball, the roster is subpar, in my opinion, and we simply lack identity.

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The ‘new’ season starts with the game against the New Orleans Saints.  If we win, maybe that will be the spark we need to go on a run.  If we lose, it will be business as usual and business thus far has been poor.