Steelers Still Must Fix Red Zone Problems Moving Forward

Red zone efficiency has plagued the Pittsburgh Steelers offense all season and in the 19-16 win Sunday over the Baltimore Ravens it remained a problem and something that must be fixed if the team is expecting to continue stacking wins.

Against the Ravens, the Steelers were one of three inside the red zone and for the season they are 6-of-16 (37.5%).

Of the six touchdowns produced by the Steelers inside their opponents red zone this season, wide receivers Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders don’t have any of them. For their careers, both Brown and Sanders have combined to produce just nine red zone touchdowns catches while third wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery has produced four on his own.

Offensive coordinator Todd Haley and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger have to come up with more creative ways to finish drives with seven points instead of three and the shovel pass to tight end Heath Miller for the first score of the game against the Ravens is proof that they are doing just that.

“I’ll take credit for that play, put that in this week,” said Roethlisberger after the win. “I’m glad it worked, I’ll put it that way.”

In addition to the shovel pass, the Steelers broke out the wildcat Sunday against the Ravens and while it was used on just four plays, perhaps this can become an option inside the red zone moving forward. While those plays were by design and did not require reads, they can be expanded on from there and head coach Mike Tomlin talked about that during his post game press conference.

“It was nice little wrinkle,” said Tomlin of the wildcat. “Obviously, if we want to continue to use it, it needs more layers, more depth. We’ll look at it. We’ll evaluate it and kind of move on from there.”

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Kenneth Wilt

    Hey…at least we were in the red zone. :)

  • WilliamSekinger

    I like the fact that coaches and players are putting their heads together to come up with unique game plans each week. Beats the ‘line up and beat your man’ mentality that has been prevalent on this team for much too long.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Well, it worked when we had the horses…lol. Now, every DL in the DIV is a major challenge physically for our OL.

    Plus in these DIV games where everyone has seen what you like to do, some wrinkles for a team badly needing a win is par for the course.

  • Ahmad

    I don’t mind the Wildcat as a nice change of pace and something to keep opposing defenses on their toes. I just don’t want the Steelers getting too cute with it.

  • ATL96STEELER

    If Bell can keep grinding out 3+ yds gains in the RZ, then Ben will get some benefit from playaction again. But, imo we need some bigger targets inside the 30 much less the 20…We need more production from Paulson…imo Moye just needs more reps and more confidence…hopefully Ben keeps going to him.

  • Eric

    Some recommendations for fixing the red zone issues.
    Screen passes to Bell and Will Johnson.
    More Moye
    Slants to Brown and Sanders

  • dgh57

    More shuffle passes to Miller or whoever! :-)

  • Xclewsive

    The Steelers have to get back to basics in the redzone. I’ve noticed they get to fancy sometimes which doesn’t establish a mindset when they are in the redzone. The Steelers don’t possess right now that go to threat in the redzone other then Heath Miller. Gotta find a way to get other players involved without getting to fancy.

  • Tom Savastano

    If Bell keeps progressing like he has been it will open other options up.. Respect the run!

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    Out of curiosity, how have we done in the red zone since the Bus retired????? Or for that matter, Hines ????

  • ATL96STEELER

    Agreed…if the DEF has to respect the run…you can still playaction pass in the RZ, but imo we don’t have enough big bodies, really none other than Moye that you can throw it up to and have a chance…Sanders and Brown have to literally be open to take a chance throwing it to them.