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Steelers Offense Craves Rhythm –– And Matt Canada Can’t Dance

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Matt Canada can’t feel the groove of the Pittsburgh Steelers offense.

He’s out of time and off beat. Every chord change causes a stumble.

And for the team’s offensive coordinator, that’s a problem.

A crushing problem.

Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson senses it.

“We just couldn’t get a rhythm,” Johnson said after the Steelers’ 37-30 loss to the Bengals at Acrisure Stadium. “You [saw] it out there. I mean, we just got those field positions, you know, opportunities and we just didn’t capitalize on them … the rhythm we had at first, we had a little roll.”

Johnson used the word twice there: rhythm. And indeed, the Steelers looked solid in the first half of this one, putting up 20 points and carrying a 20-17 lead into halftime.

Rookie quarterback Kenny Picket went 14/19 (74%) for 141 yards and a touchdown in that half.

Things fully collapsed from there. No rhythm, no success down the stretch.

Mike Tomlin echoed that sentiment when discussing his team’s second-half woes at the podium post-game.

“[We just weren’t] able to get the type of rhythm that we needed in an effort to control the game in the manner which we did in the first half,” Tomlin said.

So what does that mean –– and why is Matt Canada missing the beat?

Let’s illustrate:

The Steelers receive the ball to start the second half. They hold the lead, and Pickett was cooking just before halftime.

  • Screen to Johnson, one-yard gain
  • Najee Harris left guard for no gain
  • Deep left shot to Steven Sims, incomplete
  • Punt

OK, that’s just one series. What happened the next time the Steelers got the ball?

  • Najee Harris left tackle, three-yard gain
  • Short left pass to Pat Freiermuth, three-yard gain
  • Deep shot to Freiermuth, incomplete
  • Punt

Series one: Short pass, ineffective run, deep shot, punt

Series two: Ineffective run, short pass, deep shot, punt

Once again, nothing to the middle of the field. Nothing intermediate. Nothing to keep the offense rolling and maintain that rhythm from the first half. Momentum killed.

Or, as Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt put it after the game:

“They like to do the same plays over and over.”

Oof.

You don’t hear that type of honesty often in 2022 when every reporter is armed with a camera, a recorder, and instant access to hundreds of thousands of viewers and readers.

But Pratt nailed it there. Nothing Canada does confuses or stresses defenses. His “trickery” is laughable at best. It fails consistently.

One play after Pickett delivered a 33-yard dime to George Pickens to open the Steelers’ first fourth-quarter drive, Canada reached into his bag…

And pulled out a flea flicker.

It was executed sloppily and Pickett had to throw the ball away.

What happened next?

Harris loses two yards on a run, then Pickett takes a sack for a 10-yard loss. That’s on the offensive line as well to be certain, but there’s no doubt the flea flicker completely halted any momentum the Steelers built from that strike.

“We gotta go out there and execute whatever’s called,” Pickett said after the game.

Which is a shame for him. Because “whatever’s called” isn’t working and hasn’t worked since Canada took over in the booth.

Matt Canada’s got his dancing shoes on –– and he looks foolish out there.

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