Steelers Offense Lost Its Personality In Dolphins’ Loss

On Tuesday, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made several references during his weekly press conference to his team losing the time of possession battle in Sunday’s loss to the Miami Dolphins and how that played a big part in the game in addition to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throwing two interceptions.

Because of his time of possession comments, Tomlin was asked if the team should start using running back Le’Veon Bell more as ball-carrier moving forward to perhaps help the offense possess the football longer and especially being as Landry Jones will have to start this Sunday at quarterback being as Roethlisberger won’t play due to his left knee meniscus needing to be repaired on Monday.

“Perhaps and that’s our intention always,” Tomlin said. “We lost our personality a little bit some as that game unfolded because of the lack of possession or the total number of snaps. That balance that you speak of is what we seek, but we didn’t establish a lot of rhythm in that football game because of our inability to execute and convert third downs and we turned the ball over some which has been uncharacteristic of us.”

One of those third downs against the Dolphins that the Steelers offense should have easily converted came late in the second quarter with Jones in at quarterback. The Steelers faced a 3rd and 1 near midfield with just under 4 minutes remaining until halftime and instead of letting Bell run the football, offensive coordinator Todd Haley decided to get cute and have Jones throw to tight end David Johnson out in the flat after he had lined up initially as a fullback.

The Dolphins weren’t fooled at all and the forced pass fell incomplete down the right side of the field and the Steelers were forced to punt. Bell, by the way, just had 3 nice runs to the right side at the start of that offensive possession in addition to not getting stuffed all game up until that point.

Even though the Steelers were only trailing the Dolphins 16-8 entering the second half, Bell only carried the football twice during the final 30 minutes of the game. In should be noted, however, that Bell was given the football one other time during the team’s first offensive possession of the second half but that run was wiped out by a holding call. Regardless, that’s pretty much inexcusable and even more so when you consider that Roethlisberger played the entire second half with a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Even when the Steelers were down 23-8 with 1:45 left in the third quarter, Bell should have been given the football a little more via runs in the fourth quarter in an effort to keep the Dolphins honest. Instead, Roethlisberger threw on every play in the fourth quarter.

Sunday at Heinz Field, the Steelers will host the New England Patriots with Jones starting at quarterback for the injured Roethlisberger. As I stated a few days ago, even though the Patriots will likely be expecting the Steelers to hand the ball off to Bell quite a bit throughout the game, the offense needs to try to establish the run early and get Jones in as many short 3rd down situations as possible.

So far this season, the Patriots have only allowed 3.7 yards per carry on running plays, but with that said, they can be run on up the middle and to the left side of center as that’s where they seem to be the weakest in the games of theirs that I have watched.

  • David Paul

    I’m glad he’s call out Haley, who is a dunce, but he’s his boss. If you don’t like the playcalling, get in his ear during the game.

  • PaeperCup

    PLay calling was HORRENDOUS in this game. I do not understand why Bell wasn’t used extensively against this sorry run defense, especially when the pass game was faltering, and even more so after Ben got hurt. Why are you throwing it on 3rd and 1 with Landry Jones!!!!!

    AS bad as they played, this was still a winnable game after the half, if played right.

  • Don2727

    Oh, that Haley is so cute..Re-Redemption Sunday!!!

  • Shane Mitchell

    Surprised we didnt try to throw a bomb to a WR with a couple of broken fingers and cast on his hand or something…….no doubt the Dolphins were all over any pass, everytime we have third and short we pass.

  • mem359

    Well, last year they did play Blake in the secondary with a cast on his arm, right?

  • Thomas

    Landry Jones is a bum, and should be gone next season. Start Mettenberger and see if there is any potential there, and if not draft 2 QBs to replace these losers.

  • Roneau Betts

    Also passing game was horrible should of been more easy looks for Brown and Bell. Starting to think Haley is passively aggressively punishing AB

  • John A Stewart

    You playing a team that’s 30th against the run and you passing all day run it down their damn throats.

  • J Jones

    Classic…when the offense is rolling “u know ben calls his own plays, right?” “Tomlin is a lucky idiot, just benefitting from Cowher’s players”…..when we lose, “fire Tomlin, fire Todd they should have never put Ben in those positions”. “Playcalling sucked, im going root for the pats this week” ….

    never gets old after all these years

  • Craig M

    Maybe the fans are simply frustrated w/ having a high quality offense, high caliber organization and being “5-11 in last 16 road games against opponents below 500%”. Maybe they simply want to understand the why of it. Me I think Haley overthinks his strategy and doesn’t use his full potential or his players full potential. I think Tomlin should have figured out something to address this issue by now or maybe should be making adjustments at half-time (sort of like Cowher was famous for) [and I was never a big supporter of Cowher’s handling of his QBs but that’s a different issue]. I’m hoping that the man upstairs (Rooney) has a heart to heart talk w/ the mover and shakers and gets this little blip straightened out so we can get it together as a team- and focus on the gold ring, the SB. Go Steelers!

  • J Jones

    Ive watched every steelers coach we’ve had and none of them were perfect, and all of them had their share of flaws that kept us from winning more titles. Mike wins at an awesome clip, but fans’ expectations sometimes are totally unrealistic. Like, who are we comparing Tomlin to? I recall Noll’s teams struggling. What were Cowhers worst records? We actually sucked some years. Actually sucked. I think its cool that under Mike we have always been a factor. Even when we miss the playoffs we r a competetive factor. Few franchises in few sports can anually say that. Are we perfect? Of course not, but we always have a shot. Thats really all you can ask for bro

  • Craig M

    Tomlin’s young w/ much potential he should be stepping up to the next level of coaching. I want to see half time adjustments and improvement on clock management and that’s in his wheelhouse. No matter which coach calls the strategy on DEF/ OFF Tomlin is responsible. He has a lot better in him than what he’s shown and us playing down to poorer teams shows that. I wasn’t a supporter of him when he first started out but like you said his record speaks for him, I just can’t understand the losses to lesser teams. And I do think we can beat NE even w/ our injuries.