It’s not exactly breaking news that the Pittsburgh Steelers offense has been struggling the last several games. On Monday night, the Steelers have a chance to clinch the AFC North division as they take on the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Heavily favored in the game, merely getting a victory is not going to instill confidence in any kind of great return to what the Steelers have done throughout the 2020 season. But there are certain things that Steelers can do to show their offense is getting back on track headed into the 2020 postseason.
Obviously, simple explanations such as “win,” “run better,” or things of this sort would make for a very obvious and somewhat boring list. Therefore, although these items will be covered indirectly, here are five specific things I would like to see from the Steelers offense. Of course, I could’ve easily come up with a list of 25 items, but these are the ones at the top of my list.
Since the Steelers scored an opening drive touchdown in Tennessee in Week 7, they have gone seven straight games where they have not put points on the board during their first offensive possession. In the month of November and December, the Steelers opening drives have resulted in 5 punts, a fumble, and a missed field goal.
Obviously the Steelers have been starting slow. But as much as I would like to see a touchdown on their opening possession, I would even be satisfied if they managed to put any points on the board. Most importantly, achieving more than just a first down or two will really help set the tone for the offense for the game.
Holding onto the Ball
While this phrase could be taken several ways, it’s solely directed at those players attempting to catch the football. The Steelers drops by their receivers have been well documented and discussed over the last several weeks. It would be very nice to not have this talking point for the next week.
As much as I don’t want to hear about Steelers receiver dropping passes, that’s not the real reason they need to hold onto the ball. The drops by the Steelers receivers have become drive killers over the last several games.
Does anybody else know exactly what the Steelers are going to do the majority the time once they break the huddle? Seeing the personnel group on the field and the formation along with the down and distance, it’s very easy to guess what play is coming. It would be very nice to go a game without knowing exactly what play the Steelers are going to run on offense. If we fans are guessing this correctly based on the Steelers trends, I would assume professional players and coaches, who are getting paid between hundreds of thousands up to millions of dollars, would be able to figure out the same thing. It’s not even about being overly creative as much as it is being completely predictable.
Blocking to the Whistle
As stated before, simply saying “run better” doesn’t really offer a lot to fix wih the Steelers running game. It’s going to take unpredictable play calling, better offensive scheme, and better execution in order for the Steelers to get the running game going. One thing I’ve noticed as of late and would really like to not see in this game is offensive linemen standing around and looking while the running back is still fighting for yards during the play. If the lineman are driving the opponent down the field, they don’t have a chance to stand and watch.
There are multiple things that I could have said about the offensive line. I’d like to see them play out of a three point stance more often, but that’s not on them. I’d like to see them run block with a lower pad level. These are all things that could have been listed. But seeing a desire in blocking to, and through, the whistle is something that would remove that “S” label that was thrown around about this position group as of late.
Making a Significant Adjustment
Much like the opening drive of the game, the Steelers also are slow to start coming out of the half. Once again, the Steelers have not scored on their first possession of the second half since they played the Tennessee Titans. In Nashville, the Steelers got a field goal on their opening drive of the second half but since then they have had six punts and one turnover on downs.
Whether the Steelers have a significant lead, are trailing, or are in a very close game, I want to see the offense come out and show a little something new in the second half. For once, I would like to see the Steelers offense make a halftime adjustment to do something somewhat different rather than just try to do the same thing they did in the first half but “better.”
So there are my top five things I would like to see out of the Steelers offense on Monday night in Cincinnati. As I said before, this list could have gone on for quite some time but I kept nice and tight.
So what are your top five things you would like to see out of the Steelers offense on Monday? Are some of them the same, or would you have a completely different list? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.