The Pittsburgh Steelers love continuity on their coaching staff. But the goal of a low turnover rate on the coaching staff may cause the Steelers to lose their starting quarterback for a significant time.
At least that’s what The Score’s Daniel Valente argued on October 1.
“4th and 1 in shotgun despite the Steelers running game working well in the 2nd half. One of many terrible play calls. Doesn’t make any sense.”
On the play Valente referenced, the Steelers faced fourth-and-1 with 1:16 remaining in the third quarter while trailing by 10. The Steelers had kicked field goals on their first two possessions of the second half and forced the Houston Texans to punt twice.
Instead of settling for a field-goal attempt again (it would have been roughly a 51-yard attempt), Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin elected to keep the offense on the field for the fourth-and-1 play.
Canada called a shotgun pass with three wide receivers bunched to the right. None of the pass catchers came open, and Pickett suffered a knee injury while taking a sack.
Pickett exited and didn’t return to the game.
Houston defeated Pittsburgh, 30-6.
Steelers’ Failed Fourth-Down Flipped Game Back in Texans’ Favor
After the failed fourth down, the Steelers defense looked deflated. They were a step behind again, as they were for much of the first half. That resulted in Houston putting together a 58-yard touchdown drive.
The Texans scored on a running back option with Devin Singletary finding tight end Dalton Schultz open in the end zone. The touchdown gave Houston a three-score lead with 10:50 remaining in the fourth quarter.
That essentially ended the game. The Steelers managed just 39 offensive yards with Mitch Trubisky replacing Pickett. Meanwhile, the Texans scored another touchdown on their next possession.
The Texans manhandled the Steelers most of the afternoon. Houston outgained Pittsburgh, 451-225. The Texans had 201 more passing yards than the Steelers, and they also rushed for more yards.
Despite Houston’s makeshift offensive line, the Steelers defense failed to record a sack or force a turnover.
“They that ran the football with some backups in there and stayed on schedule and minimized our opportunities,” Tomlin said during his postgame press conference.
With the lopsided game, it’s hard to point to one play as a turning point. But had the Steelers converted on the fourth-and-1 where Pickett was injured, they had a good chance of at least pulling within one score of the Texans heading into the fourth quarter.
Steelers Fans Calling for Matt Canada to be Fired
Pittsburgh fans on Twitter didn’t seem to take issue with going for the fourth down rather than kicking the long field goal. They did, however, dislike the play call.
Najee Harris and the Steelers running game finally had some big plays early in the second half. Harris had 55 rushing yards in the third quarter while Jaylen Warren chipped in an 18-yard run.
But on fourth-and-1, the Steelers lined up in shotgun formation. CBS color commentator Adam Archuleta said it best during the broadcast when he noted that the shotgun formation ruled out the possibility of a running play.
Steelers media and fans on Twitter didn’t like the decision either.
Other Steelers fans were more irate about the entirety of the Steelers offensive performance in Week 4. Those fans pointed their frustration at not only Canada but Tomlin and Steelers ownership.
Tomlin expressed that his team will make changes before Week 5, but it was unclear if he meant changes could be coming to his coaching staff.
“Hell yeah, we’ve got to make changes, man. That was an ugly product we put out there today,” Tomlin told reporters. “We are not going to do the same thing and hope for a different outcome. What those changes are man, we’ll put together a plan in preparation this week.”