Steelers Week 11 loss to the Browns requires urgent reflection for playoff hopes

  • The offense continues to sputter
  • Steelers' defense can't get the job done by themselves
  • NFL playoff hopes are at a critical juncture for the Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers / Nick Cammett/GettyImages

The Steelers suffered a disappointing 13-10 loss to the Browns, marked by Dustin Hopkins' last-second field goal. The game, characterized by defensive struggles, witnessed a total of 17 punts from both teams.

The Steelers now stand at 6-4, securing the 3rd spot in the AFC North. Despite a lackluster offensive performance, Jaylen Warren's 129 rushing yards were a bright spot. Facing the elite Browns' defense made for a challenging day.

Another disappointing offensive performance

A day of nonexistent offense makes finding positives challenging, except for Jaylen Warren. Against an elite Browns defense, it was expected to be a tough day. Surprisingly, the Steelers managed to run the ball effectively, with Warren amassing 129 rushing yards as the sole bright spot.

However, the passing game was atrocious, plagued by miscommunication between Kenny Pickett and Diontae Johnson, stalling two crucial drives and an offensive line that struggled against the Browns' front, disrupting the Steelers' screen game and making life difficult to try to make anything happen in the air.

Finally, Matt Canada and Kenny Pickett's performance was simply subpar. Poor quarterback play, combined with dreadful play calling and sequencing, created a recipe for disaster. The shortcomings were evident on Sunday, and the outcomes reflected the inherent issues.

With 11 weeks into the season, it's unlikely that we'll witness a drastic improvement in the offense for the rest of the season. The team seems limited, relying primarily on the running game. The current scheme, play calling, and quarterback performance fall short, and a one-dimensional approach won't suffice against playoff teams that typically boast strong to elite defenses.

Steelers strong defensive showing hindered by offensive woes

Defensively, the Steelers' unit dominated, conceding nothing in both the passing and running game, keeping the contest close until the very end. However, winning games becomes challenging when your offense is forced to punt eight times.

The only concern lies in the lack of pass rush, an issue yet again. Many anticipated a feast for TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith against a Browns offense missing both offensive tackles but the outcome proved otherwise. Dorian Thompson-Robinson quickly released the ball, nullifying any potential pass rush.

In conclusion, relying solely on the defense each week isn't sustainable in the NFL. Today's game highlighted that, emphasizing the crucial role of the offense in pivotal moments to help your defense out.

Urgent reflection needed for playoff hopes

The Steelers are at a critical juncture, needing serious reflection in Week 11. The issues at this stage shouldn't persist, presenting a concerning state in Pittsburgh that demands immediate resolution for any playoff aspirations.

The upcoming game against a Bengals team without Joe Burrow provides an opportunity to regroup. The Steelers, currently lacking in coaching, execution, and attention to detail, must swiftly reverse this trend to avoid finding themselves on the outside looking in. Time is of the essence in steering the ship back on course.