Steelers Red Zone Execution Still Lacking After Lions Game

By Matthew Marczi

As much as the offense seemed to get it together this past Sunday against the Detroit Lions—at least in the passing game—when the Pittsburgh Steelers got into the red zone, their season-long struggles reared their ugly head once again

On this day, however, the struggles were clearly down to execution, as can be seen on these four plays that should have been touchdowns.

The Steelers were set up here with second and six near the goal line. Ben Roethlisberger fired to an open Le’Veon Bell in the middle of the field. Maybe the pass was slightly too hard or slightly more behind him than he would have liked, but Bell wasn’t able to catch it. This is a ball that needs to be caught, in my opinion, and the fault lies with Bell, who could have walked into the end zone on this play.

The struggles continued on the very next drive with the Steelers on the 12. Heath Miller got past the coverage on second down and Roethlisberger tossed up a pass that he caught. After he took a hit, however, he could not hang on. As on the previous drive, the Steelers failed to get into the end zone on third down.

Fast forward to the third quarter and it is Roethlisberger’s turn to take the blame, sailing a pass over David Paulson’s head, who was left wide open in the back of the end zone for what should have been an alarmingly easy touchdown. Again, the Steelers settled for a field goal. That’s 12 points off the board purely because of execution.

Antonio Brown doesn’t always drop passes, but when he does, he prefers to be in the end zone. This is the second ball this season that Brown has let go through his hands that should have been a score.

Unlike the three prior occasions, on the other hand, the Steelers did end up getting into the end zone on a similar pass to fullback Will Johnson. But even that might not have happened had the Lions not been flagged for pass interference on second down.

Jerricho Cotchery added a 19.8 yard touchdown pass late to seal the game, which technically means that the Steelers’ last two plays run in the red zone ended up in touchdowns, but that certainly doesn’t represent how much they struggled to execute in that area throughout the game.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

    If Todd Haley weren’t the OC, they would have caught those passes……………

  • steeltown

    Damn I had actually forgotten about the first two plays…

  • Shannon Stephenson

    …..and would have scored 50 more points….

  • Shannon Stephenson

    …….in the first half….

  • Ahmad

    Wow Ben could have and should have had 6 TD passes on the day which, if my memory serves me right, would be a single game high for him.

  • Impact3697

    The first one is at least half on Ben.. Hard, high throw, slightly behind a running back. If Ben leads him there, its an easy touchdown. However, even if Bell caught that throw, a lot of his momentum would’ve been stopped, he may not have gotten on the endzone

  • RMSteeler

    Ben’s just making his case for tall receivers, although I don’t think there are any 8 footers coming out in the draft. I can’t watch every game or play, but it seems that Ben is high and behind on too many short/medium routes. Then he throws a perfect bullet into triple coverage from his own end zone in this game for a completion. I would have thought he would have been more consistently accurate at this stage of his career.


    To see the entire sequence on 1st and goal from the 2 was very painful.

    Bad execution more than Haley on all of those vids….but at least Paulson was in the game and actually targeted…Moye should be active every week…he gives them one more taller body to work with in the RZ.

    Palmer? Seriously?

  • AndyR34

    And the great leader, Ben, tried to throw Paulson under the bus by saying that maybe he slipped!

  • Mike Sweeney

    Achilles heel for sure of the offense. Less shotgun inside the ten yard line and more rush attempts.

  • RMSteeler

    Sad to see the Steelers seem have a better chance to score a TD from outside the 20 until the run blocking and TE/small WR situation changes. Of the games the Steelers have lost, I’d like to see how many times they actually scored more times, but because of FG’s not TD’s.

  • Kris Gusto Williams

    All on first down