Questions surrounding the Steelers’ quarterback situation will come as frequently as the losses do in Pittsburgh during the 2022 season, but you can expect head coach Mike Tomlin to remain consistent on the matter in the immediate aftermath of defeat.
Tomlin gave a clear-cut answer when asked if he will re-evaluate Mitchell Trubisky’s status as the team’s starting QB following Thursday night’s 29-17 loss to the division-rival Cleveland Browns. His resolve was reminiscent of that during the Steelers’ QB competition this past summer.
“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 out how we collectively get better.
“So, the answer to that question is definitively no.”
Forgoing any knee-jerk reactions has been a consistent approach from Tomlin since the preseason, however, with rookie Kenny Pickett waiting in the wings and Pittsburgh fans letting Trubisky hear it in last week’s home-opening loss, the storyline is seemingly on the brink of turning a page.
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.
Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada set Trubisky up for success with crafty play-calling that played into his QB’s strengths, but a well-adjusted Browns defense was ready for it in the second half, where the Steelers punted on four of five drives and mustered just three points in the defeat.
“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.
Once the Browns took away the sidelines and forced Trubisky to throw down the middle, the Steelers offense stagnated and made life easy for a Browns defense that blew a late lead last Sunday. At the end of the night, Pittsburgh had 308 yards of total offense and converted just 1 of 11 third downs.
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.”