A glance at the stat sheet from last Sunday’s Steelers overtime win over the Bengals is unlikely to leave one with the feeling that the Pittsburgh offense was doing much right over the course of the afternoon.
They posted 267 total yards, went 4-of-15 on third downs and possessed the ball for just over 26 minutes, but head coach Mike Tomlin didn’t focus on those things during his Tuesday press conference. Tomlin focused on not turning the ball over — the Bengals gave the ball up five times — and the ability to “make the necessary plays in the weighty moments” as things that provided some encouragement about where things are going.
“Looking back at it from a coach’s lens, taking the emotion out, I was encouraged by some of the things I saw from our offensive unit,” Tomlin said, via the team’s website. “It’s no secret that we’re transitioning and gaining cohesion in that group, whether it’s young players or players that are new to us. I thought we did some good things, considering the variables. I thought we were better than we were in Jacksonville [in the second preseason game]. And this was our second opportunity with this collective to go into a road venue. Obviously, a regular season environment is more intense than a preseason one. So, for us to be better and substantially better, it was encouraging.”
Tomlin noted that the effort was “far from perfect” and the Steelers will need to be sharper on offense to win on days when the defense isn’t able to take the ball away quite so often, but a win always makes it easier to work on cleaning things up.