A near coaching collapse among biggest takeaways from Steelers win vs Falcons

Tommy Jaggi
Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on prior to a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 04, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on prior to a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 04, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Steelers recently defeated the Atlanta Falcons, but a near coaching collapse is among the biggest takeaways from the narrow Week 13 victory.

It’s hard to come away overly satisfied with Pittsburgh’s win in Week 13. The Steelers should have stuck it to the Falcons with the way things were going. I fully expected Mike Tomlin’s team to win this game, and by the way the first half played out, fans thought they could be getting their first blowout victory in ages. But we should have known better.

In the end, Pittsburgh narrowly escaped with a 19-16 win. There are several big storylines from the Steelers win against the Falcons that need to be addressed following the game. Here are my biggest takeaways from this Week 13 victory:

Steelers coaching continues to fall apart in the second half

I’m getting sick of watching the same thing play out week after week. For the second straight game, the Steelers cruised in the second half before being limited by a conservative game plan over the final two quarters. This falls on Matt Canada, but Mike Tomlin deserves some blame as well for allowing this to happen.

If things are working, why change? I understand wanting to try to control the clock and take good care of the football, but in an effort to protect Kenny Pickett, the coaching staff is really hindering the upside of this offense. Because of this despicable game plan, the Steelers were able to muster up just 3 points in the second half despite a 16-6 lead in the first two quarters. Sadly, we may never see a blowout win as long as Canada is the offensive coordinator.

George Pickens needs an attitude adjustment

I like George Pickens. For the first time since prime Antonio Brown, I think the Pittsburgh Steelers could have a legitimate future number one receiving option on their hands. However, the 21-year-old rookie needs to get his attitude in check quickly.

We all know that Pickens should have seen more than 2 targets on 28 passes in this game, but he made a fool of himself with his poor body language. At one point, the camera even showed him jawing on the sideline at his coaches. This needs to be nipped in the bud right away.

Diontae Johnson hasn’t been worth the money

Though I’m not excusing Pickens’ behavior, it’s not hard to see why he was so frustrated. Diontae Johnson — who managed 11 targets in this contest — had one of the worst games of his career. He salvaged his stats with 60 yards, but he recorded a pair of drops and had a fumble that was overturned.

This isn’t too surprising either, as Johnson is having the worst year of his professional career. Clearly, he has not been worth the massive contract that Pittsburgh gave him during the 2022 offseason, and he needs to turn things around quickly.

Kenny Pickett continues to flash potential

The second-half game plan is going to make it nearly impossible for Kenny Pickett to put up gaudy numbers by the end of the game. However, I was once again impressed with some of the plays I saw the rookie make. Though Pickett did miss one big throw up the middle to Pat Freiermuth, he was money on most of his first-half passes.

In the first two quarters, Pickett chipped in 145 passing yards and a touchdown on a very respectable 7.6 yards per attempt, per ESPN stats. While he finished the game with just 197 passing yards, this had much more to do with the play-calling than anything else. Fans should be encouraged by what they’ve seen over the past few games.

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