Mitch Trubisky isn’t Steelers’ only problem as loss to Browns sheds light on flaws | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats & Rumors

Nick Cammett/Getty Images

Panic is not a word generally associated with the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are arguably the most stable franchise in the sport. They have had three head coaches in more than half a century. They have won six Super Bowls. And their current head coach has never seen a losing season.

But fear levels on the banks of the Monongahela River are mounting as Mike Tomlin’s run of no-losing seasons is in serious jeopardy. After losing 29-17 to the Jacoby Brissett-led Cleveland Browns on Thursday night, talk radio in the Steel City will no doubt focus on the idea of ​​removing quarterback Mitch Trubisky and replacing him with first-round rookie Kenny Pickett.

But the reality is that Trubisky’s limitations aren’t the Steelers’ only problem. Or their biggest problem. This team has real problems on both sides of the ball – and a change below center won’t solve them.

Earlier this week, while appearing on The Mike Tomlin Show On the team’s YouTube channel, the Pittsburgh head coach indicated that he was not considering major changes to the starting lineup, including at quarterback.

“I’m not even around to have such discussions, man,” Tomlin said through Steelers Nation’s Bob Quinn. “I’m more concerned about our collective growth and development and what we’re putting together in terms of what we want to do to get the win. [Trubisky is] just a part of it.”

Tomlin’s patience was tested Thursday night by a game that in many ways mimicked Pittsburgh’s Week 2 loss to the New England Patriots.

The good news for the Steelers offense is that the team has spent a season high in the yard. The bad news is that the top season was 308 yards. Pittsburgh entered Thursday’s action last into the AFC in total offense, and this week’s total won’t help that ranking much.

Does Trubisky bear his share of the responsibility for another lackluster offensive attempt? Secure. His numbers on Thursday were a testament to mediocrity – 20 completions in 32 attempts for 207 yards and a passer score of 81.1. Again Trubisky flatly refused to attack the center of the field.

This is not new. It’s been a theme all season.

Marcus Mosher @Marcus_Mosher

Here are Steelers QB Mitchell Trubisky’s passing charts through Week 2 via the NFL’s Next Gen Stats: pic.twitter.com/Q63PmTOf0L

But just blaming Trubisky for this offense’s inability to average 300 yards offense three weeks into the season is unfair. There’s plenty of debt to go around.

Pittsburgh went into Week 3 with the seventh worst ground game in the NFL, averaging 83 yards per game. That number will go up a bit after the Steelers amassed 104 yards on 22 carries, but their ground game looked pathetic compared to Cleveland’s.

Leadback Najee Harris has yet to get into some sort of groove this season, and Week 3 was no exception. He won just 3.7 yards per carry on his 15 bins—which was actually his best average of the season. Heading into the week, he averaged less than three yards per pop.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

That’s not good, folks.

Of course, Trubisky and Harris’ struggles can be traced to yet another of the other issues. The Steelers have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. In his most recent offensive ranking, Pro Football Focus’s Sam Monson ranked the Pittsburgh front 28th in the league.

Yeah, that line only allowed one sack against the Browns. But the said sack came to a critical third run in the second half, and the Pittsburgh front was once again unable to open holes for the run game.

Unless you think he’ll be spared, Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada is also to blame. Amid reports
With some in the organization getting frustrated with the sophomore OC, Canada’s play-calling fell flat again. When Canada found something that actually did work (taking advantage of pace in the first half), it disappeared completely after half-time – and Pittsburgh’s momentum disappeared with it.

But wait! There is more!

The Steelers have been a team associated with fearsome and formidable defenses for decades. But like their ability to consistently move the ball, that’s gone now too.

AP Photo/David Richard

Last year, the Steelers performed the worst defense in the NFL, with 146.1 yards per game. This year, that number “improved” by two games — to 22nd in the league with 128.5 yards per game.

After meeting the Browns, that number goes the wrong way. Nick Chub, Kareem Hunt and the Browns cut the Steelers 171 meters to the ground. Admittedly, the Browns tend to do that, but Week 3 was a repeat of Week 2 against the Pats—a worn-out Steelers defense that ran successfully over and over in the second half.

The pass defense is also leaking. Last week it was Nelson Agholor who posted a 6/110/1 stat. On Thursday, both wide receiver Amari Cooper (7/101/1) and tight end David Njoku (9/89/1) had big games.

No one will confuse Mac Jones and Jacoby Brissett with Joe Montana and Tom Brady. But both had success against the Steelers. With edge rusher TJ Watt sidelined by a torn pectoral muscle, Pittsburgh generates almost no pass rush.

Next Generation Statistics @NextGenStats

Jacoby Brissett was pressured by just 4 of 33 dropbacks in the Browns 29-17 win over the Steelers, his lowest pressure percentage (12.1%) in a game of his career.

🔸 2017-2021: 35.0% (2nd-highest in NFL)
🔸 2022: 19.8% (9th lowest in NFL) #PITvsCLE | #browns pic.twitter.com/ysziWSImap

That lack of pressure exposes an average group of cornerbacks. And Pittsburgh is slowly, methodically being dismantled.

The Steelers lose the third-down battle, converting at a significantly lower percentage than their opponents in the past two weeks. They also lose the time-of-possession battle of nearly 20 minutes in the last two games.

They are not outplayed in one facet of the game. Lose in one position. It is everywhere. On both sides of the ball.

It wasn’t long before Tomlin made it clear that there would be no major changes for Week 4.

That doesn’t make fans happy, but it’s not unexpected. Tomlin is not the kind of coach who changes hastily. The Steelers aren’t that kind of team.

Or maybe he realizes that pulling Trubisky or firing Canada, on some level, would just be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Maybe he knows that Pittsburgh’s problems go beyond Trubisky. And Canada. And the violation.

Maybe he knows that these Steelers are a flawed team and those flaws are coming to light.

And maybe he knows that streak of no-lose seasons is probably toast.