PITTSBURGH — For the second straight week, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin lamented his team’s number of penalties in his post-game press conference after a loss.
This time was nearly twice as bad as the last. After being penalized five times in a loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, the Steelers were flagged 10 times for 73 yards in Sunday’s 24-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
“We didn’t play smart enough and that’s reflected in the penalty game,” Tomlin said. “We didn’t execute enough today, making routine plays routinely. We dropped the ball. We gave up a deep ball in situational play. There’s enough to go around. We take responsibility for that. It is what it is. That’s what you do when you’re playing losing football and that’s what we did today.”
Tomlin said he felt the team was particularly impacted by penalties on the offense in the first half not letting that unit get out to a quick enough start. The Steelers had five offensive penalties on their first five possessions of the game, and one on special teams that backed an offensive starting field position back to the 8-yard line.
“The initial part of this game, you saw the penalties, every time we possessed the ball,” Tomlin said. “You get a holding penalty, it’s a drive-killer. The penalty aspect of play did not give us a chance to establish any rhythm, particularly at the early portions of the game. I think every possession we had in the first quarter or so was penalty-laden.”
The Steelers also had some issues with penalties on defense. The Bengals’ second touchdown was aided by a roughing the passer call on Melvin Ingram. Ingram is a veteran NFL player, and the call looked questionable. Tomlin claimed to not have seen it.
But on offense, particularly along the offensive line, the Steelers have a lot of youth in action. Tomlin wasn’t sure if that’s what has caused the issues.
“Whether it’s inexperience or what you you, we have to own it,” Tomlin said. “I haven’t spent a lot of time trying to analyze or frame it. I know we’ve got to clean up our penalties. I know we’ve got to make routine plays routinely. And those are two things we’re not doing right now. You’re an easy team to beat when you play like that.”