Mike Tomlin Takes Blame for Steelers Being a ‘Disaster’ in Week 5

by Nick Geddes
(Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in danger of starting a season 1-5 for the first time since 1988. That, of course, is barring an upset in Week 6 this Sunday as Pittsburgh welcomes in Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2.)

The Steelers are coming off their worst defeat since Week 1 in 1989, when they were pummeled by the Cleveland Browns, 51-0. The Buffalo Bills’ (4-1) 35-point victory over the Steelers this past Sunday has forced head coach Mike Tomlin to place the blame on himself.

“We were a disaster in all three phases, and we have to own that, starting with myself and I do,” Tomlin said Tuesday, via ESPN. “When it’s that bad across the board, it starts with me. We don’t need to seek comfort, because there’s enough blame to go around. We need to be solution-oriented.”

A solution, some have pointed out, would mean for Tomlin to make some changes on his coaching staff. Specifically with offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who is fives games into his second season in the position. Tomlin continues to resist making a change for the sake of it, though he said remains open to it.

“I remain open to it, but I don’t intend to change for the sake of changing, to shoot a hostage, if you will, or anything of that nature,” said Tomlin, when asked if he’d consider making personnel and/or coaching changes. “If changes produce better outcomes or seemingly produce better outcomes, or we feel like it puts us in position to produce better outcomes, then I’m open to it, certainly.”

Mike Tomlin Searching for Answers to Get Steelers Back on Track

For the majority of the season, the Steelers’ offense has been anemic. They are averaging 6.1 passing yards per attempt, second-to-last in the league. The two passing touchdowns rank them 32 out of 32 in the NFL. On the ground, Pittsburgh is averaging just 3.9 yards per carry and has recorded zero runs of more than 20 yards.

Defensively, things have not been that much better — especially in the absence of injured linebacker TJ Watt. The Steelers are allowing 7.5 yards per pass attempt and 1,438 passing yards — 31st in the NFL.

Tomlin has already made one notable switch on the offensive side of the ball, swapping out quarterback Mitchell Trubisky for 2022 first-round pick Kenny Pickett. In his first-career start in Buffalo, Pickett finished the day 34-of-52 for 327 yards with an interception. Pickett and the offense left points on the table, going 0-for-4 in the red zone.

How Quick Can Steelers Turn it Around?

With the aforementioned Brady and Co. coming into the “Steel City” this weekend, as the old saying goes “it could get worse, before it gets better.” Tomlin himself acknowledged that there are no quick fixes to the Steelers’ problems.

“We’re not going to cure our ills in one or a couple of good days or a good plan or good performance for that matter,” Tomlin said. “The state that we’re in, we’re going to have to put our heads down and work hard and diligently and stay together for an extended period of time as we grind our way back to respectability. I just think it’s a mindset that we all need to have understanding where we are.”

“They’re not quick fixes. It’s not going to be based on one good performance or one good plan. And I just think as we prepare and lean in for this next opportunity that we just say that we’re going to be working our tails off. We didn’t dig ourselves into this circumstance in one day. We’re not going to dig ourselves out of this circumstance in one day or one performance.”