The criticism of the Steelers has been growing, even from their own locker room, after last week’s ugly loss to the Jaguars.
But Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said the circumstances of the game kept them from being as balanced as he might have preferred.
The Steelers ran 20 times and threw 57 passes, and that backfired when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions, including two in the third quarter which were returned for touchdowns. They were up 9-7 at the time, and lost 30-9.
“The bomb went off on us in the third quarter,” Tomlin said, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “We threw a couple of pick-6s, so the stats aren’t going to reflect our plan or our intentions.”
At the time of the first pick-six, Bell had 12 carries and Roethlisberger had attempted 32 passes, which seemed odd considering the Jaguars had the league’s best pass defense but worst run defense.
“We weren’t as balanced as we would like,” Tomlin said. “If you look at our stats at halftime, they resemble what we anticipated. Our rush totals were very similar to Jacksonville’s rush totals at halftime. We hadn’t thrown two pick-6s at halftime, so that’s just the nature of ball.
“You’re always going to have questions in that area. Feature runners like Le’Veon Bell, you’re always going to have questions in that area. When you’re winning, you run the ball over the last quarter and a half of football games.”
The Steelers aren’t doing as much as they anticipated, and that has made a number of other issues percolate to the surface. And even though they’re 3-2, they still have the look of a team that isn’t on the same page, either on or off the field.