One of probably the most exceptional realities of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is the truth that, regardless that they received solely 9 video games, seven of these victories had been earned through game-winning drives led by former quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
That means they had been shedding so much, or a minimum of tied, within the fourth quarter, however as usually as not, discovered a option to put the ultimate factors on the board that put them excessive. They tied for the league lead in level scored within the fourth quarter. If solely they might have gotten off to comparable begins, perhaps they wouldn’t have wanted these late-stage Hall-of-Fame heroics.
With Roethlisberger now a fading picture within the rearview mirror, the Steelers can’t afford to dig themselves holes firstly of video games, counting upon the protection to maintain issues shut sufficient for his or her star quarterback to tug it out in the long run.
“We know that”, second-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada instructed Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette not too long ago when he was requested in regards to the want for them to enhance their first-quarter offense, a interval by which they tied for the fewest factors scored within the league.
“It’s certainly a focal point for us. It’s certainly something we’ve got to get better at”, he added. “Winning games is really important. If you start fast, it’s easier to win games”.
He’s talking in apparent phrases with goal, after all, emphasizing the purpose of what operate having a great first-quarter offense serves. Any time you’ve gotten extra factors than your opponent is an efficient time, because it makes it simpler to complete the sport with extra factors. Again, to state the plain.
Of course, sluggish begins aren’t a brand new phenomenon in Pittsburgh. They completed within the backside 5 in every of the 2 earlier seasons as nicely in first-quarter scoring. Yet they’d a top-10 first-quarter offense as not too long ago as 2017. Indeed, they completed tied for third in 2016.
How they go about fixing the first-quarter offense, I don’t know. I’m not an offensive coordinator, nor am I paid to be one. But Canada cautions towards prejudging this 12 months’s group primarily based on what they had been (or weren’t) in a position to do final 12 months.
“Last year is last year. I have no problems with how we tried”, he instructed Gulac. “We didn’t get our ultimate goal, but it’s a new year, a new time. There are a lot of different things. We’ll work and try to be better this year. We have to play better. We know that”.
They say figuring out is half the battle, however the doing is mostly the tougher half. It’s fantastic for the Steelers to know that they should get extra factors on the board early on in video games. But that merely units the purpose, it doesn’t accomplish it.