The Pittsburgh Steelers offense looked anemic until they started looking a bit without a huddle for their only touchdown in the second quarter. That’s not to say things have improved dramatically, but there was at least a spark of life, if fleeting.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger likes to get out of no-huddle. The problem is, as he said several times last week, they don’t have much of a no-caucus forfeit this year, with four rookies on offense, more new starters beyond and a new system with new verbiage. He said their game selection has grown from 50-100 games to around a dozen.
And head coach Mike Tomlin seemed to echo that sentiment when he spoke about that disastrous 4th-and-10 swing pass to Najee Harris. In so many words, he basically said that they didn’t have any more games that they were able to make.
“We had shot all of our balls by then in terms of some of our game selections,” he told reporters after the game. âIt just wasn’t a good enough game to get into it. They had a fence, if you will, because of situations like the conversation we were having here. They will probably allow you to throw and catch the ball in front of them, but there are some things you need to do after that. They had a bunch of guys running along the goal line like it happens every time it’s the fourth and the eight or nine or whatever â.
Down 24-10 with just over three minutes to go, the Steelers found themselves on the Cincinnati Bengals’ 11-yard line against the 4th and 10th. The Bengals initially showed a blitz on the play, before dropping their blitzers into cover, making the decision to throw a side pass at the running back seem particularly silly. I admit my mouth stayed open after watching this unfold.
After the game, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger actually said they planned for the Bengals to play a ‘picket fence’ defense, suggesting that it was actually the designed call rather than a sound signal constructed from the presentation of the defense blitz.
“You’re a little limited at this point of what you can do,” he added, acknowledging the tension of being on the 11th against the 4th and 10th. âExcept maybe throw a ball. Looking back, maybe we should have shot in the end zone. I wish I had done it.
He didn’t, however, and they didn’t even manage to properly block a swing pass to the running back, especially in light of the idea that they had actually anticipated the defense they had. obtained. Which still leaves me speechless about this decision as well as the way it was executed.