Face it, the Steelers won against the Ravens, and they may have won a game that they would have lost against many other teams, except for the fact in this game, they knew their opponent so well they kept it close, especially defensively. Nevertheless, the Steelers offense was anemic for the majority of the game.
Despite a great win everyone would focus on in most normal seasons, again, the playcalling of Matt Canada stole the show. We saw nothing new in this game, the same stale play calling that produced no results. However, it has ignited some new controversies and also reveals that the pressure of his job and trying to find something to work may be getting to him.
Steelers Matt Canada was emotionless?
Some people have claimed that Canada displayed no emotion based on the clip on X (formally known as Twitter) of his reaction to the touchdown pass from Pickett to Pickens. Before analyzing that clip, we need to go back to the two previous times CBS panned to the offensive coordinator booth earlier in the game.
The first time CBS went to Matt Canada, we saw him talking with someone, perhaps Coach Tomlin or Kenny Pickett; it's unclear who he spoke to. However, it was the first sign of Canada showing some apparent frustration either with this game or his season in general.
Whichever it was, the obvious thing is he was clearly frustrated. He was talking and looking at his playbook and then slammed down the pen he was holding in his hand, at least demonstrating definite frustration. While we may not know why he slammed the pen, he was upset, to say the least. It's a clear sign that things are not going well for him, at least in this game.
The 2nd time CBS went to the booth, we saw a dismayed Canada flipping through his playbook with what we might call a look of bewilderment. He could be seen frantically flipping through his playbook. It could be that he was looking for something he could call that might be effective in some capacity. The fact he was rubbing his forehead as well at least displayed more frustration if anything else.
So, to say he displayed no emotion would be factually inaccurate. Certainly, we have not seen this level of frustration in prior games, where he did seem more emotionless, to be honest. It could make us suspect that perhaps he has been put on notice by Mike Tomlin or Steelers ownership. Whatever the reason, something was getting to him.
Analyzing Canada’s reaction to the Pickett touchdown pass
Returning to his reaction to when Kenny Pickett threw his touchdown pass, Canada did have a blank stare on his face. Why not, nothing he called earlier in the game seemed to have much success. As you watch the play unfold by observing the coaching booth, everyone seemed excited that the play might be successful except for Canada initially.
It's almost as if he expected the play to fail or produce minimal results. Then Pickens ran it in for a touchdown. At that point, Canada did react. It was a total surprise, like what we actually scored.
Indeed, Canada did not expect the results of the play, given his reaction of total shock and awe. It seems doubtful he will protest very much. Nevertheless, with his surprised look, some people are claiming Kenny Pickett changed the play. If so, it could explain Canada's strange reaction.
Did Pickett change the play?
We may never have an answer or at least an answer anytime soon. It is safe to assume, though, that Mat Canada never expected the play to produce a score if we judge by his reaction. Also, looking at his reaction, it's possible he was expecting another Pickett to run another play and was probably thinking to himself, what the [insert your own expletive here] is Kenny Pickett doing? Then, the touchdown caused Canada to jump out of his chair when it occurred.
We might be debating whether Kenny Pickett called an audible for a while, or perhaps he went rouge like Big Ben used to do. While we may never know the answer to that question, CBS surely answered one question or at least lifted back the veil, giving us a glimpse of what is going through Matt Canada's mind. Definitely, this season is taking a toll on him emotionally. We saw that in this game with some degree of certainty.
The question after this game going forward is whether Canada can take anything from this game to help salvage his season and bring some life to a rather lifeless offense. While we will have to wait two weeks, there is little reason to think it will. However, Tommy Jaggi said it best in his article on this subject that with emotion or not, we need an improved performance and more consistency that results in more points.