For Tomlin and the Steelers, losing to inferior teams has been a continued theme under Tomlin since the 2009 season.
Sunday saw a Steelers team that just never looked right. There was no balance offensively. The Steelers were gashing the Ravens on the ground in the first half but yet at times it seemed like they were being too conservative through the air in quarters one and two. In the second half they appeared to get too deep pass happy, somewhat of a problem this season, to go with in-game management problems which seem to happen almost every week.
There was just no cohesion and losses like this under Tomlin almost always play out this way but has Tomlin received too much criticism for these type of losses against inferior teams?
Almost all of these losses have had the same trend — Really bad games from Ben Roethlisberger against significantly inferior QB’s —
Here are seven backup caliber Quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger has lost to since the 2013 season:
Jake Locker, Titans went 7-9 in 2013
Matt Cassel, Vikings went 5-10-1 in 2013
Terrell Pryor, Raiders went 4-12 in 2013
Mike Glennon, Buccaneers went 2-14 in 2014
Brian Hoyer, Browns went 7-9 in 2014
Mike Vick, Jets went 4-12 in 2014,
Ryan Mallett, Ravens are currently 5-10.
Of those seven losses with Roethlisberger under center, the Steelers offense scored 18 points or less in five of the seven losses, including 13 points or less in three of them.
In the scheme of things, having Ben Roethlisberger as your quarterback probably makes Mike Tomlin look like a better coach than he really is. Make him the coach of the Browns and Cleveland’s record is probably one-to-two wins better right now, but the loss to Baltimore and other bad ones in the past have almost always fallen on the shoulders of Roethlisberger and that’s a knock on Roethlisberger more so than Tomlin and why it’s difficult to put him in the same class as Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers like many have tried to do, as recent as last week.
If the Steelers miss the playoffs, it will be the third time in four years. That should be unacceptable but it can’t all be on the coach. Roethlisberger just shouldn’t be losing to these type of bad QB’s that’s he’s lost to at least a couple times a season. If the Steelers were losing these type of games to bad teams, 35-30, then it would be a different story.
This is starting to become the only true knock on Roethlisberger’s career to this point and it’s a concerning one.
Meanwhile, Mike Tomlin as a head coach proved in the past to be a guy who can take a really good/great roster to the next level, the Steelers 2008 and 2010 teams prove that. It’s why he’s a $7 million a year coach when his new extension kicks in for the 2017 season.
What Tomlin hasn’t been able to prove is the ability to take an average/above average roster with some holes to the next level and you can obviously say the same about Roethlisberger. Prior to Sunday this was looking like the year where maybe both change that narrative, but again the Tomlin/Roethlisberger combo looks to be heading down the same path — failing again to take a good enough roster to the next level as in a Super Bowl Contender —
The Steelers win Sunday vs Cleveland and they will have 21 regular season wins over the last two seasons. That’s great and all but zero playoff wins since the start of the 2011 season is what matters at the end of the day.