Too many drops: For the second week in a row, Coach Mike Tomlin was talking about dropped passes after the Steelers dropped six in the 23-17 loss to the Washington Football Team on Monday.
Tomlin didn't appear to have much patience for the drops and stated anyone who can't hold on to the ball won't see the ball come their way.
"They can catch the ball, or they can get replaced by someone who will catch it," said Tomlin. "It's just as simple as that. Like I've often said, I expect guys to make routine plays, routinely. When there is a pattern of that not happening, we have to look at who we are throwing the ball to.
"The coaching of catching the football to those who are employed to do it at this level is not something I have a lot of patience for. It's not something any of us have a lot of patience for. Those guys job is to catch the football, particularly the routine ones. Where there's a pattern you should expect to see less opportunities. That is just fair. That is just part of what this business and our game is about."
On the defensive: The Steelers defense remains ranked No. 1 in the NFL through Week 13, but Tomlin pointed out some issues they did have in the second half. While they held the Washington Football Team to just 24% (4-17) on third downs, there was one that was given up early in the third quarter that proved costly.
On third-and-14 from the Steelers 14-yard line, Washington quarterback Alex Smith connected with Cam Sims on the screen pass that went for 31 yards. Keeping the drive alive resulted in a Washington touchdown when Peyton Barber took it in from the one-yard line, cutting the Steelers lead to 14-10.
"Less dominant on third downs in the second half and that is what created the possessions or time of possessions and subsequent points," said Tomlin. "I thought the third down and long to start the half where we had them backed up and they were able to throw a perimeter screen and move the chains was significant. Not only significant in that drive which led to a touchdown, but also significant in terms of keeping us off balance the remainder of the half."
In addition to that, the Steelers didn't create any turnovers against Washington, despite leading the NFL in takeaways with 23.
"We're a group that thrives off of turnovers," said Tomlin. "We average over two turnovers a game defensively. We weren't able to get any in that game. I thought that had an adverse effect on the game as well."
Not ruling it out: When things don't work, everyone looks for ways to make changes. And when things didn't work against Washington, Tomlin was asked if he would consider a 'change in the way you call plays and is anything up for re-evaluation.'
He didn't rule anything out.
"Certainly. We're open to doing anything that's required for us to find the fluidity we once had, and that's just a part of it," said Tomlin. "We have to maintain fluidity as players available to you change. That's one of the things that I really have been focused on and that's really come clear to me. We just have to become a more solid group. The quality of our performance can't depend on the presence of a Maurkice Pouncey or a James Conner or a Vance McDonald and guys like that. We've lost fluidity since we missed some of those guys. To be quite honest with you, that pisses me off because we have to be the type of group that endures regardless of who is available. That's how we construct this group, not only in terms of our acquisition of players but just development of mentality and personality.
"We have some work ahead of us."