During the 2022 season, concerns about the Steelers’ quarterback position will arise as regularly as defeats occur in Pittsburgh, but you can count on head coach Mike Tomlin to be consistent on the subject in the moments following a loss.
When asked if he would reevaluate Mitchell Trubisky’s position as the team’s starting quarterback following Thursday night’s 29-17 defeat to the division foe Cleveland Browns, Tomlin had a succinct response. He exhibited a level of commitment reminiscent of the Steelers’ QB competition this past summer.
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“I’m not in that mindset,” Tomlin said postgame. “I’m interested in reviewing his tape and looking at the totality of it and figuring how we collectively get better.
“So, the answer to that question is definitively no.”
Tomlin has consistently avoided any knee-jerk reactions since the preseason, but with rookie Kenny Pickett waiting in the wings and Pittsburgh fans letting Trubisky hear it in last week’s home-opening defeat, the narrative appears to be about to change.
Trubisky’s night wasn’t all that bad on paper, especially in the first half. The Steelers went into halftime with a 14-13 lead thanks to Trubisky’s mistake-free start as he went 9-of-13 passing for 109 yards and scored one of Pittsburgh’s two touchdowns on a 1-yard run.
Trubisky was given the best chance to succeed by Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who devised plays that catered to his QB’s strengths. However, Brown’s defense was well-prepared for it in the second half, and the Steelers were forced to punt on four of their five drives, scoring just three points in the loss.
“I feel like I’m in a good rhythm with my routine,” said Trubisky, who finished 20 of 32 for 207 yards passing. “Felt good tonight — just got to be better in the second half.”
According to Next Gen Stats, 78.1% of Trubisky’s attempts were thrown outside the numbers and he was 9 of 12 for 129 yards on intermediate passes. Trubisky completed just 1 of 6 deep passes for the 36 yards, and the lone connection was due in large part to George Pickens’ amazing catch.
The Steelers’ offense stalled after the Browns eliminated the sidelines and forced Trubisky to pass down the middle, which made things simple for a Browns defense that let a late lead slip away last Sunday. Pittsburgh finished the game with a total offense of 308 yards but only 1 of 11 third down conversions.
Perhaps Tomlin will have a better idea after reviewing the tape, but the respected Steelers coach could be facing his first losing record in 16 seasons if he doesn’t find a solution to the struggling Steelers offense quickly.
“I thought he made some plays but we all collectively came up short, and so that’s how we measure performance — winning is our business and we didn’t handle business,” Tomlin said. “So we don’t break that apart and look for the feel-good.”