Back-to-back home losses to the two worst teams in the NFL demand immediate attention. Another loss to another 2-10 team in a matter of four days is downright inexcusable. In the thick of a playoff race, the Steelers have stumbled in impressive fashion, now finding themselves out of the playoff picture. There is one man to blame for this mess, and it's Mike Tomlin. It's been years coming, but the writing is officially on the wall, and it's time for the Pittsburgh Steelers to move in a different direction.
This Steelers team not long ago was in the driver's seat to not only make the playoffs but potentially have a shot at winning the AFC North. Now that postseason hope is long gone once again. If the Steelers, a once proud and competitive franchise known for competing for championships, want to get back to that standard, then the Head Coach needs to be fired. There are no more excuses or defending Mike Tomlin. The time is now.
Kenny Pickett's importance undeniable despite critics
Once again, the offensive performance was a complete disaster. As highlighted in my previous article, Mitch Trubisky was anticipated to be the deciding factor in the game, and indeed he was, but in the worst possible way. This serves as a stark reminder for those who have questioned Kenny Pickett or downplayed his significance to the team.
The absence of a quarterback with a knack for winning close games and avoiding turnovers became glaringly evident. The Steelers' record of 0-3 in games this year without Kenny Pickett, whether he didn't finish or didn't play, underscores his crucial role. Despite the challenging circumstances attributed to the offensive scheme and play calling throughout the season, Pickett has consistently overcome these obstacles to secure victories.
The contrast between Pickett and Mitch Trubisky, observed from last year to this year, reveals a stark reality. The team's reliance on the passing game, especially in a game against the best run defense in the league, proved to be a disastrous recipe.
Under the current coaching regime, the team seems incapable of mounting successful comebacks when faced with multiple-score deficits. The crucial plays down the stretch were notably lacking in execution, and once again, there were no positive takeaways on the offensive side of the ball. The responsibility for this falls squarely on Tomlin, who, it is asserted, arrogantly ignored the need for improvement in this critical phase of the team.
Late defensive effort falls short
Defensively in the first half, the Steelers found themselves frequently defending on short fields, conceding 21 points. New England effectively exploited the middle linebacker unit, and the consequences were significant.
However, in the second half, the defense displayed resilience, managing to pitch a shutout and making crucial stops and turnovers to keep the team in contention. Credit is given to the defense for stepping up and doing everything within their means to potentially secure a win. Unfortunately, despite their commendable efforts, they fell short, with the pivotal 21 points conceded in the first half ultimately deciding the disappointing outcome.
When is enough truly enough?
The recent downturn in the Pittsburgh Steelers' performance reflects a pattern of the franchise prioritizing comfort over the necessary measures for championship success. Criticism is directed at the failure to bring in a competent offensive staff and address finer details across all three phases of the game. The lack of effective coaching, well-thought-out schemes, and successful execution is attributed to the head coach.
This issue isn't isolated to the 2023 season; it has been lurking for years, and only now are the longstanding problems coming to light. When does the tipping point arrive? Art Rooney II ought to feel a sense of embarrassment, and Dan Rooney is likely rolling in his grave, witnessing the direction his cherished team has taken under his son's leadership.
It's a bitter pill to swallow, but undeniable. Change is imperative, and last night's events underscore that once more. This, clearly, marks the final straw – end of discussion.