No one ever likes to lay blame. Aw, who am I kidding, if there’s anything NFL fans like to do is point the finger at who they think is to fault for a team’s loss and debate other fans when to lay the blame elsewhere. I’ve always said that when it comes to blame in most cases, especially in an NFL game, there will be plenty to go around. And with the Pittsburgh Steelers, it seems to always be someone or something new.
After the past weeks’ loss to the Tennessee Titans in such heart breaking fashion, I went back through the game to see if there were any plays and players that really stood out to me as goat worthy. And this was tough. I can’t really fault a player or being hurt, or fault the backup who came in and played poorly.
I say this keeping in mind that the Steelers had 2 running backs, 2 offensive linemen, and a safety all lost to injury in this game. The efforts of guys like quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and receiver Mike Wallace were strong. And there weren’t any key turnovers that swayed momentum for the Titans. They didn’t even have the characteristic soul crushing penalties we are used to.
So, who’s to blame? For me, it’s head coach Mike Tomlin and his staff. There were multiple points in the game where Tomlin needed to pull his players to the sideline and tear them a new one and try and motivate them. But instead he stands. He gives players some dap, he adjusts his pants, and from what I can tell does very little else. Don’t misunderstand, I think Tomlin is a very talented coach, but in situations like what was happening on Thursday night, just standing by and hoping the players pull themselves out of it was clearly not the answer.
But I’m not sure if it’s ever the answer. The players that underperformed are certainly to absorb some blame for this, but when game plans in place, and largely coordinated and administered by the assistant coaches and coordinators, the role of the head coach, at least a portion of it on game day has to be to inspire, motivate, and terrify is needed. Twice this season already the Steelers have fallen into trap games on the road, and the burden for that should fall squarely on the shoulders of the Steelers head coach.
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