One of the keys to the Steelers improvement on offense is the redzone production as we’ve talked about before. Let’s face it; scoring points is the ultimate goal every week. Passing stats are nice, running stats are all well and good but moving the ball and not scoring touchdowns is a problem.
Another issue facing the Steelers and the new Offensive Coordinator will be scoring more points in the 2nd half of games. The Steelers have long been known for being a team that likes to get a lead and sit on it by running the ball, therefore eating the clock and shortening the game. It’s a philosophy that’s been in place since the Cowher years. Even with the firepower that the Pittsburgh offense has at its disposal they haven’t been able to put teams away and therefore end up in entirely too many close contests. You would think with all those weapons that they would be able to just put the pedal to the metal and run away with games. At the very least get a big lead in the first half and then run the ball or use the short passing game to eat the clock.
If you look at the first half scoring in 2011 for the Steelers, they were only able to average about 11 points before halftime (14th in the league overall). Compare that to the top offenses in the league; Green Bay 17.4, New Orleans, 16.1, and New England at 15.4. Now, the glaring deficiency really comes into focus when you look at the 2nd half scoring. The Steelers finished a distant 26th overall in the NFL with just 8.9 points in the 2nd half. Again compare that to the top teams in the league and you can see why the Steelers played in so many close games. New Orleans – 18.4, New England – 16.8, Green Bay at 16.7. Those numbers for the top offenses were substantially higher late in the year as well, which means when the post season is on the line they were able to pour on the points.
The Steelers have the ability on offense to score that many points but teams were able to adjust their game plan at half time and come back. The coaching staff failed to stay ahead of the defense and make their own adjustments on the fly. The players though have to execute as well, and that comes down to a poor offensive line, bad decisions in the passing game, and receivers not catching the ball. So it’s not all the coaches’ fault but in the end they take the blame. Just another reason and I believe one of the main reasons that Bruce Arians was not retained.