A mere few weeks ago it appeared that the Pittsburgh Steelers may go undefeated. However, the last two weeks they lost to the unnamed Washington Football Team, and the up and coming Buffalo Bills. This sudden collapse begs the question of why and how. The reason for both of these losses is first and foremost the offense. The offense had been struggling all season, but over the last two weeks, they have fallen very low. However, there is still hope for Steelers’ fans. All the Pittsburgh Steelers need is play action.
The reason that the Pittsburgh offense has been struggling, is due to their lack of explosive plays. Instead, the Steelers have been going for the short passes and short gains all season. However, that is not working anymore. So, what is the easiest way to create an explosive play? Use play action. Just look at the exciting and explosive Tennessee Titans. The Titans are second in play action percentage and use it very efficiently. Not only to open up the run game with Derrick Henry, but to also vertically stretch the field and get receivers more open.
Currently, the Steelers are in last for play action percentage. The team one spot ahead of them, the New Orleans Saints, have a play action percentage 8% higher than that of Pittsburgh. The Steelers almost never use play action, and they aren’t even close to the team one spot up.
This lack of play action passes has closed off the intermediate middle of the field. Effectively limiting the passing game to either the sideline or five yards beyond the line of scrimmage. This not only limits the passing attack but the running game as well. Because of this short passing attack, more emphasis is put on the box. So, the Pittsburgh running backs, and offensive line are outnumbered every time they run.
This may be the fault of offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, or this could be the fault of Ben Roethlisberger. Either way, The Steelers need play action, and they need it especially now.