No team has made more playoff appearances since the merger than the Pittsburgh Steelers. But that statistic has a hollow ring to it as of late.
A year ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers were the last team in the NFL to lose a game. Mike Tomlin’s club opened 11-0 but dropped four of its final five regular-season contests. The Black and Gold laid a 48-37 egg in the wild card round, falling at home to the Browns.
This season, there was a Week 1 upset of the Bills at Buffalo. The Steelers dropped their next three games. There were some ugly losses along the way and with two weeks to play, the Steelers were 7-7-1 and still breathing in terms of the playoffs. Tomlin’s squad defeated Browns and Ravens (in OT) and got some help, grabbing a wild card berth.
A week later, the 42-21 loss at Kansas City was the latest ugly chapter in the recent postseason for this franchise. There are many changes ahead but how much can be accomplished in one offseason. The following suggestions may be a good start.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers need a major change in offensive philosophy
In 2021, the Pittsburgh Steelers jettisoned offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner and promoted quarterbacks coach Matt Canada (who joined the team in 2020) to take his spot. And after finishing tied for 24th in the league in total yards and dead last in the NFL in rushing, Mike Tomlin’s team “improved” to 23rd in total offense while only three clubs gained more yards on the ground.
Pittsburgh’s offensive unit managed a disappointing 33 touchdowns in 17 regular-season games. In those contests, the club managed a miserable combined 37 points in the first quarter. And while it’s not official quite yet, the Steelers will take the field in 2022 without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being a member of the organization.
There’s a lot of pressure on Tomlin and Canada and you can sense the impatience from a lot of different directions. Power football should be the emphasis for this team going forward.