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Mike Tomlin Deserves Most Of the Blame for Pittsburgh Steelers Week Two Loss

Following the Pittsburgh Steelers embarrassing defensive performance against the Kansas City Chiefs, Mike Tomlin deserves to be blamed the most.

The Pittsburgh Steelers fell to 0-1-1 on the season following their Week two loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. They couldn’t make up for the horrible start that they got off to in that matchup. Both the Steelers defense and special teams were downright bad on Sunday. Mike Tomlin should be blamed for the loss, as slow starts, defensive miscommunications, and loads of penalties are nothing new for Pittsburgh.

Mike Tomlin and What Went Wrong in Week Two

Slow Start

Slow starts and Mike Tomlin coached Steelers teams go hand-in-hand. It has happened in the past three games that the team has played. Last year’s playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars saw a start so slow that an all time great performance from Ben Roethlisberger couldn’t save it. In Week one against the Cleveland Browns, it was more of the same, except in the game Roethlisberger deserved a lot of the blame as well. Against the Chiefs on Sunday, during the first few minutes of the game, it seemed like Pittsburgh was going to be in for a long day.

Pittsburgh started with the ball. Their first drive saw them punt after losing two yards on three plays. To make matters worse, Kansas City ran the punt back to the Steelers ten-yard line, and scored two plays later. Maybe no need for Pittsburgh fans to panic at that point.

Obviously, the Steelers would get the ball back and put a drive together to answer. Try again. This time, they lost three yards on three plays, once again punting the ball away. Patrick Mahomes would march down the field in five plays and the Chiefs would take a two touchdown lead. After a decent third drive by the Steelers, Chris Boswell missed a field goal. Three minutes later, Kansas City went up 21-0 before anyone could even turn their TV to the correct channel.

Starts like the one the Steelers had on Sunday simply can’t happen on a team with a veteran quarterback and veteran head coach. Roethlisberger was missing throws, the offensive line wasn’t looking sharp, and the defense couldn’t stop anyone. Sometimes, teams can get away with a start like this. But, an offense as talented as Kansas City’s will punish teams who start games like the Steelers did every single time.

Miscommunications in the Secondary

For some reason, the Steelers just can’t ever seem to be on the same page in the secondary. Those issues didn’t take long to arise in Week two. Kansas City’s first touchdown of the game came on a post route where no one covered Chris Conley. At first, the touchdown appeared to be the fault of Artie Burns. But, after watching the play again, there was just simply no one covering Conley and Burns was the one who tried to make up for it. The defense definitely needs to be blamed for miscommunications like this, but so does Mike Tomlin. It is an issue that has been going on for multiple seasons now, and is the exact kind of issue that a head coach should be expected to address.

Another ongoing issue with the defense is the ability to cover tight ends. Whether it’s a lack of communication, or just an error in the game plan, something has to change. Jonathan Bostic simply isn’t fast enough or good enough to cover a tight end like Travis Kelce one-on-one. That is the matchup that the Chiefs exploited for their second touchdown. Whether the help over the top didn’t come, or there was no help to begin with, there needs to be a change. That change should be taken care of by none other than Tomlin.

Special Teams and Penalties

The special teams aspect didn’t go well for the Steelers, either. Jordan Berry struggled to punt the ball well, other than a 59-yard boot that went out of bounds at the one-yard line. Chris Boswell had his worst game yet, missing an extra point and a field goal. But, the biggest special teams blunder came after the Steelers forced a safety. On the ensuing free kick, Antonio Brown returned the kick to the 50-yard line. However, Pittsburgh was called for an illegal formation on the return, resulting in a re-kick. The next attempt would only be returned to the 30-yard line. The 20-yard swing was detrimental. The following touchdown drive used three minutes of game clock. By the end, the Steelers just ran out of time and never got the chance for a game winning drive, thanks in large part to the penalty. A penalty like that should solely be blamed on coaching.

Penalties in general were an issue for the second consecutive week. Pittsburgh was penalized 12 times for a total of 90 yards. There were false starts, defensive holdings, offsides, and anything in between. Nothing can ruin a good drive, or provide the other team a major boost, like a poorly timed penalty. Tomlin needs to hold the players to a higher standard when it comes to cleaning up their sloppy play.

Moving Forward

The Steelers will travel to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week three. The Bucs have looked like world beaters in the first two weeks, knocking off the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles, two of the best teams in the NFL. If Mike Tomlin can’t clean things up quickly, the Steelers could once again be in for a rough game next week.

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