Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

First Quarter Incompetence Destroying the Pittsburgh Steelers



I understand that NFL teams cannot technically “lose” a game in the first quarter. Unfortunately for those of us who have watched them this fall, the 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers are digging themselves into early game holes on a weekly basis.

During their 2-6 start to the regular season, the Steelers have been outscored by an incredible 61-19 margin in the first quarter of play.

To be fair, no unit can be singled out for the team’s struggles early in games this fall.

The offense has been plagued by turnovers, poor play-calling, and an inability to simply execute. In addition to the offense, the defense has forced only one first quarter turnover, the lack of consistent pocket-collapse has allowed opposing quarterbacks to get comfortable, and “splash plays” and poor execution have hurt the unit as well.

Pittsburgh has been shutout in four of their nine games so far, and they have yet to post an opening drive touchdown or score 10 more points against any of their opponents in the first quarter as well.

Heck, if one takes away the safety which Darius Reynaud handed the team on the opening kickoff of the season, the Steelers would only have scored 17 first quarter points up to this point!

While the issues I alluded to above have extended into the second, third, and fourth quarters of Pittsburgh’s games this year, the fact that this team is -42 points in the first quarter of play through their first nine games is unacceptable. Playing from behind is never an easy task, and the Steelers have been playing “catch-up” for most of the 2013 campaign.

Until Pittsburgh can stop digging themselves out of early game holes though, the tallies will continue to mount in their “Loss” column.




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Tags: Ben Roethlisberger Dick Lebeau Mike Tomlin Pittsburgh Steelers Todd Haley

  • Todd Williams

    I really don’t understand why it is that when I watch the Steelers offense (especially in the first quarter), it looks like they haven’t even practiced during the week. Then you look at an offense like New Orleans or Green Bay, and their plays are executed as if they’ve practiced them 100 times. It seems like it’s been this way for years, and I don’t get it. They just don’t execute consistently. Is it lack of practice? Lack of motivation to perfect the execution? Lack of talent? All of the above?

    • Dom DiTolla

      In addition to the issues which you alluded to above, the lack of competent offensive linemen, particularly at the tackle positions, has been a huge deficiency for this offense.

      In addition, they usually have to abandon the running game early and the threat of the running game goes away when they have been forced to play “catch-up.”

      Haley’s questionable play-calling, particularly in the red-zone, has been nothing to smile about either.

  • Carl Eagan

    This year there is no reaction after the opposing team scored as in years past. I remember the Steeler’s seemed to get pissed after they were scored on and would explode offensively and defensively. I think it’s a combination of lack of experience for some, talent on the lines and motivation for some players. The locker room has been lost by the coaches and motivated players. Tomlin’s inability to follow through with anything except mouthing sound bites has come full circle and the team is playing like the undisciplined and unprepared team it is. If they play like this next Sunday when the Bill’s come to town the team will be 2-7 and we will still be stuck with Tomlin who is obviously rehearsing sound bites for his press conference.