After the Steelers again struggled to get anything going on the offensive side of the football in a 17-14 loss to the New England Patriots this Sunday, Najee Harris goes to an often-used answer of his to explain what the offense needs to do to improve after yet another uninspiring performance.
“I feel like we just got to execute better,” Harris said to the media in the locker room after the game on video from Chris Adamski’s Twitter page. “I think it really just comes down to better execution no matter how you look at this thing. We just got to execute better, and that comes from our end. You know, I got to make more plays, the line got to do better, the receivers, the quarterbacks. We just all as a team got to find a way to get into the lab and find ways to get better next week.”
The offense did do better this week in comparison to last week against the Bengals where the running game was non-existent, and the passing game struggled to branch outside of the dink-and-dunk style the team has had the last couple season outside of a couple plays down the field. Still, Pittsburgh’s offense was largely ineffective once again to open the game, going three-and-out to start the game with Mitch Trubisky throwing an INT on the second drive of the game.
The offense found more of a footing later in the contest, getting two field goals and a touchdown with a two-point conversion in their next five drives. Still, Pittsburgh was in prime position to score a TD on their first made field goal of the game but stalled out in the red zone. After the touchdown by Freiermuth in the third quarter, the offense went three-and-out in two straight drives, failing to see the ball again as the Patriots would eat 6:33 of clock on a 13-play drive to end the game.
Trubisky averaged 5.1 yards per attempt, throwing for merely 168 yards with a TD and INT on the afternoon. Najee Harris did better than the dreadful performance he had last week before leaving the game with a foot injury, but still only mustered 49 yards on 15 attempts (3.3 YPC).
If you go back to Najee’s comments from last week, he mentioned that it is imperative for the offense to just execute plays. Looking at his comments this week, it remains a similar story for the offense as his stance hasn’t changed.
It’s often said that the definition of insanity in doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Thus far, Pittsburgh has failed to make any chances to the offense and are facing the consequences of their actions. There is no denying that the offense needs to be crisper with their execution, but the lack of a running game being able to crack 80 yards rushing along with a passing game that doesn’t attack the middle of the field or deep, we likely can expect Pittsburgh’s offensive struggles to continue until a change of scheme, personnel, or both is made to enable better results.