MINNEAPOLIS – Never mind about the return of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second half.
Mike Tomlin has seen it more than enough before, and the 15-year-old coach was annoyed when he started to tackle players in search of a spark.
The defense went 176 yards for the Minnesota Vikings in the first half. The offensive line allowed Ben Roethlisberger to be sacked four times before halftime.
With his team’s season approaching, Tomlin took action. He was benched for receiver Chase Claypool after a mocking penalty in the first quarter. Full-back Joe Schobert was then benched, with rookie Buddy Johnson replacing him.
Fourth-year defender Marcus Allen, who has only played for special teams all season, also made his first defensive mistake.
“We’re not going to hesitate about turning things around,” Tomlin said after Pittsburgh’s 36-28 loss on Thursday night, when another fourth-quarter comeback failed.
More changes are likely to come, Tomlin said. His biggest takeaway: the offensive and defensive lines were controlled as Minnesota took a 23-0 lead.
“We didn’t hit the tails enough,” said Tomlin. “We are not prominent enough. We do not make the pile fall in the right direction. So I won’t be satisfied, I’ll make that group a dissident, if I don’t consider all the options. Buddy was a pick that worked, so we played with him some. ”
Roethlisberger threw 240 yards and three touchdowns in the second half, but Pittsburgh fell 29-0 and surrendered 242 yards when plunging into the Vikings. Dalvin Cook ran for 205 yards, the most the Steelers have allowed since Jacksonville’s Fred Taylor dashed to 234 in 2000. It was the most run ever by an opponent against the Steelers.
A proud franchise built on stability and a menacing defense, Pittsburgh came on the field giving 4.8 yards per take to an opponent, the worst record in the NFL. .
Cook, questionable before the game because of a shoulder injury, repeatedly left the Steelers gasping for air. He ran through wide holes, and his first three attempts went 54 yards.
“The first half was terrible,” defender Cameron Heyward said. “The boys did not fill. We did not leave the block. We did not resolve. You name it, we did it wrong.”
Pittsburgh started the game without Joe Haden taking the corner. Defensive Stephon Tuitt has been out for the whole season and defensive midfielder Tyson Alualu has been sidelined since Week 2.
Star outfielder TJ Watt left the game in the second half with a groin injury, and full-back Alex Highsmith with a knee injury.
“It’s not an excuse,” Heyward said. “Every man who signs into the dressing room to play football has a job to do, myself included. If we can’t get the job done, we shouldn’t be there.”
Tomlin agrees, and he can look elsewhere along the line before Steelman hosts the Tennessee Titans for 10 days.
“We’re joint venture again tonight and I’m talking to both sides,” he said. “We have to become better than we are. We will rip every stone to do it. We have a long week coming up between this week and the next. We’re going to make good use of that time and evaluate not only what we’re doing, but also who we’re doing with.”
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https://www.ksat.com/sports/2021/12/10/angry-tomlin-initiates-changes-in-steelers-36-28-loss/ Angry Tomlin begins to change during Steelers’ 36-28 loss