Many will blame Shaun Suisham for Pittsburgh’s most recent loss, and I will admit that the Steelers’ kicker had an “off day.” The fact that the “Kicking Canuck” missed two field goals inside 40 yards, on the road, in a game in which Pittsburgh lost by three puts the target squarely on him for the loss.
I however cannot place the entirety of the loss on Suisham. Although he deserves some, there are other members of the team and the coaching staff who deserve just as much, if not more, of the blame as Pittsburgh’s kicker.
In fact, the poor play-calling and offensive strategy from Todd Haley, the inability of the offense to execute on third downs, and the utter incompetence exhibited by the offense when it came to capitalizing off of three turnovers were just as responsible for the Steelers dropping to 2-5 as Suisham is.
While I have not been a Todd Haley “supporter” during his year and a half in Pittsburgh, I have definitely given the guy the benefit of the doubt. After yesterday’s game though, I am absolutely disgusted with the Steelers’ offensive coordinator.
Down 21-3 for much of the game, how or why Haley wanted to continue to run the ball with Le’Veon Bell and Jonathan Dwyer made little to no sense. Pittsburgh needed points and to gobble chunks of yards as quickly as possible What compelled Haley to believe that his “slow as molasses” backs would be able to reach the second level of the defense behind an offensive line littered with backups puzzled me to no end.
Down by 18, Haley needed to put the ball in the hands of his Pro Bowl quarterback and have him win the day through the air. Although the pass-protection was spotty, wasting valuable time on a ground attack which averaged 1.8 yards per rush on Sunday was an utter and complete joke.
Moreover, how or why Haley did not utilize the no-huddle after the team fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter was a joke as well. Pittsburgh’s inconsistent offense has found success using that strategy this season, and to essentially ignore it until the end of the first half and towards the end of the game was absolutely maddening to watch.
Inability to Capitalize off of Turnovers
While Pittsburgh’s defense was far from perfect, they actually did more than enough when it came to forcing turnovers yesterday. After forcing only two through their first six games, the Steelers’ defense actually took the ball away three times against the Raiders.
Of course, as only the Steelers could, the offense “crapped the bed” when it came to capitalizing off of the important turnovers. Pittsburgh’s offense only netted 10 points off of their defense’s three takeaways!
Whether it was due to Suisham’s incompetence or the offense’s inability to move the ball in Oakland’s territory, 10 points is unacceptable. The fact that Haley didn’t even take shots into the end zone with his play-calling after the first two takeaways was maddening, and why the offense did not try to utilize Derek Moye’s height on jump-balls at the end of the first half was a joke as well.
Yesterday’s game was absolutely disgusting to watch, yet I for one will not pin the entirety of the loss on Suisham. I simply cannot do it when I consider the aforementioned issues which plagued Pittsburgh against Oakland, and have hurt the team all season long.
Of course, people can point fingers elsewhere as well. Mike Tomlin deserves his fair share of the blame for his team playing like uninspired garbage against an inferior foe for the “umpteenth” during his tenure, the clock “management” throughout the game was awful, “Mr. Stay Puft” Woodley had an awful game and did not log a single tackle, and Kelvin Beachum did not look like a starting caliber tackle.
Go ahead and blame Suisham all you want, readers. Just keep in mind that others performed “below the line” as well.
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