PITTSBURGH — The Steelers have a Mike Tomlin problem. Yes, he’s a great coach who elevates the team’s floor. We know he is a fantastic coach. But the Steelers keep falling at the same things. Each week, the same questions get brought up despite changes occurring throughout the league since the start of the season. But regardless of what is happening in that sphere, Pittsburgh could do it themselves. But has yet to do it. It hit the apex in their loss on Sunday.
After this performance, I am at a loss. There are schematic things on the defensive side of the ball they can do better; we’ll get to those, but that’s not the crux of the issue. I did not think that Mike Sullivan called a very good game either, but I would rank him low on the list of reasons they lost this game.
This game is falling on the shoulders of mishaps of the Steelers’ own doing. Credit to Arizona for taking advantage, but this was a disaster in how to hurt yourself at every turn. Just think of all the things the Steelers did wrong in this game. Two illegal formation penalties to wipe out significant gains on running plays. Three penalties on special teams, all by one player, their special teams captain nonetheless. The center could not snap the football accurately all game, making timing off and costing the team a turnover. Three costly penalties on third downs that would have otherwise got the defense off the field, meaning that Arizona added ten points on those drives alone. This is how you lose a game by yourself.
When all three facets lack detail in their prep, that indictments the position coaches. The players, too, they have to be better prepared. But when you lay an egg of this proportions and take yourself right out of the game, this falls on the shoulders of Mike Tomlin. This team came into this one woefully unprepared and in complete disarray. When things could not get worse, they somehow did. It snowballed out of control. Jaylen Warren even said he thought the team took the Cardinals too lightly.
You have seen this movie before, though. This is not something new with Tomlin’s teams. The sky is falling this week, and they will very likely bounce back despite injuries faced. But we can not continue to fall into this cycle when details fall apart year after year in games each year. Tomlin is a great coach. You will not get that argument from me, but you must also point out his flaws. There are too many games such as this on his resume. That’s a fact.