Certainly we did [left scoring opportunities out on the field]. We kicked three field goals. I’m glad we’ve got Shaun Suisham. We don’t want to utilize him that much unless it’s extra points.
-Mike Tomlin (via Steelers.com)
First of all, kudos to Tomlin for highlighting how important Shaun Suisham is to this team. Outside of his off-day in Oakland when he missed two field goal attempts, Suisham has been money all year long for Pittsburgh. In fact, Pittsburgh’s kicker is a perfect 27-of-27 on his other field goal attempts.
Sadly for the Steelers, the fact that Suisham has been called upon to kick a total of 21 field goals of under 40 yards this fall illustrates just how poorly their offense has performed in the red zone.
Pittsburgh’s offense currently ranks 26th in the league in red zone touchdown percentage (50%), and their play-calling and execution issues have plagued this team throughout the 2013 campaign.
During last night’s game, the Steelers only converted two of their four red zone trips into touchdowns.
From passing plays designed to seldom-used tight ends like Matt Spaeth, to questionable bubble screens called when the defense has little space to defend, to the lack of Johnathan Dwyer being used on the ground in short-yardage situations, Pittsburgh’s offense left an extra eight points on the board last night against Cincinnati.
While I have the utmost confidence that Suisham can put points on the board for Pittsburgh, the fact that the offense has settled for so many short three-point attempts this fall is a joke. Unless the unit can find ways to convert more red zone trips into touchdowns, the Steelers will continue to struggle to put teams away early in extremely winnable games.
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