I don’t like Todd Haley as the Steelers’ offensive coordinator. Haley affords his stars statistics, but doesn’t get big results.
The Steelers had first-and-goal from the one-foot line late in the second quarter. Four downs later, they had settled for a field goal after losing four yards.
The Steelers ran the ball twice out of a single-back set. DeAngelo Williams lost a yard on first down, and lost three yards on second down.
Why wasn’t Roosevelt Nix used at fullback? Tackle Chris Hubbard was inserted at tight end. Why didn’t Haley complete his “big” package, a tactic that worked often during the Steelers’ nine-game winning streak?
Score a touchdown, and you go into the locker room at halftime down 17-13, not 17-9. It wouldn’t have changed the result. But it would have encouraged the Steelers, especially given that they would receive the second-half kickoff.
Trying a QB sneak with Ben Roethlisberger seems another superior option. He's 6-foot-5. Just fall forward.
But it’s tough to nitpick play-calling when the Steelers were so thoroughly dominated. As ESPN’s Mike Greenberg said, the Patriots did what they always do, the Steelers did what they always do, and the result was the same as it always is.
Would adjustments have closed the gap? We’ll never know, because the Steelers didn’t make any.
The Steelers’ primarily played a soft zone on defense, and Pats QB Tom Brady kept violating it with little resistance or change. Once New England got ahead 10-0 late in the first quarter, the game took on their style and pace and never changed.
Brady has thrown 22 touchdowns and zero interceptions playing against the Mike Tomlin-coached Steelers. That is all the people need to know.