On a day when Ben Roethlisberger was at an all-time low, figuratively and literally, many Steelers fans are ready to move on. This feeling is justifiable after the franchise quarterback has never looked this mediocre for this length of time in his 14 year career in the NFL. However, don’t let the interception numbers deter you from seeing the bigger issue, and that would be the entire offense.
Anyone who is honest with themselves would never have guessed the high-powered Steelers offense would look this disjointed five games into the season. Throughout the first quarter of the year there were the usual built-in excuses.
Le’Veon Bell missed all of the preseason, still has some rust.
Martavis Bryant missed an entire year, still has some rust.
Roethlisberger never plays well on the road.
There simply aren’t enough footballs to go around.
After 5 games, the biggest issue is how the Steelers have no identity as an offense, and that starts with the play calling of Todd Haley and trickles down to the players on the field. While everyone longed for the day all of the Killer B’s would be on the field again, maybe the last narrative above is exactly what is wrong with the offense.
How many times have you seen the Steelers on 2nd and 1 elect to line up in the shotgun, usually an empty set, and throw the football rather than run the ball and move the chains? More times than I like to recall, and this style of offense is anything but a hard-nosed smashmouth team fans expected after they ran all over the Ravens in Week 4 in Baltimore.
To make matter worse, this offense isn’t even close to balanced. Entering the game against the Jaguars the Steelers were facing the NFL’s worst rush defense, and they seemed determined to test arguably the best cornerback in Jalen Ramsey, failing more than succeeding, time and time again.
Does Roethlisbeger deserve blame? Absolutely, but so does the rest of the unit and coaching staff. In the first half, the Steelers moved into the Jacksonville red-zone on three separate occasions, settling for Chris Boswell field goals every time. Compound those dreadful red zone numbers with the fact they were 7-of-15 on third downs, being below .500 on 3rd downs has become commonplace for this team, and it is an offensive disaster.
Could the team make some drastic changes heading into their Week 6 contest against the Kansas City Chiefs? Absolutely, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Rather, what this unit needs to do is find a formula for success. It seemed as if they did just that in Baltimore in Week 4, but after the dreadful performance against the Jags in Week 5, all bets are off.
As far as offense goes, it is as bad as it can get in Pittsburgh right now, and if nothing changes, whether that be on or off the field, this team will not come close to reaching their potential, which remains sky high.