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It appears that Mike Tomlin has finally met his match. After compiling a record 16 straight non-losing seasons to start his head coaching career, the longtime Pittsburgh Steelers coach doesn't appear to have the personnel necessary to make it 17 straight seasons. 

It would have been hard to fathom Tomlin's team being in its current situation a month ago, when the Steelers were drinking wine (to steal a Tomlinism) and sitting at 7-4. Since then, Pittsburgh has been squashing plenty of grapes, having lost three straight games that include consecutive losses to 2-10 teams. 

The Steelers can still make the playoffs, but to mimic what former Colts coach Jim Mora once said about his team, the Steelers may be lucky just to win another game. That's where things are with the surging Bengals coming to Pittsburgh on Saturday. 

How did things get to this point? Injuries have certainly played a large part. The Steelers' ILB corps and secondary positions have been decimated. Kenny Pickett, fresh off his big performance in Cincinnati in Week 12, got hurt the following week and hasn't played since. 

But there are reasons for Pittsburgh's current struggles that can be attributed to the head coach. Let's take a look at those reasons, starting with the most obvious. 

1. Retaining Matt Canada

Really, hiring Canada in the first place was a risk. He had never been an offensive coordinator in the NFL prior to Tomlin promoting him in 2021. Pittsburgh's offense was bad Canada's first year, but a soon-to-be retiring Ben Roethlisberger was used as the scapegoat. 

The offense was just as bad last season, but the team's 7-2 finish (against pretty light competition) compelled the Steelers' brass to keep Canada on board. It's safe to say that they regret that decision. 

Steelers fans surely hope team president Art Rooney II will apply recent history when he begins the process of finding Pittsburgh's next offensive coordinator. Unlike the previous two, the Steelers need to hire a proven coordinator who has had success in the NFL.

2. Sticking with Mitchell Trubisky 

Trubisky has had two notable moments during his time with the Steelers. Other than that, the former Bears Pro Bowl quarterback has largely struggled to get the job done. Why Tomlin continued to stay with him over Mason Rudolph for so long is anyone's guess. 

Tomlin should have at least looked into starting Rudolph following Trubisky's rocky outing in relief of Pickett during the Steelers' loss to the Cardinals. But Tomlin stuck with Trubisky, and the result was more subpar play from the quarterback position in a loss to New England. 

Despite those performances, Trubisky started this past Saturday against the Colts. The results were the same, and the Steelers dropped to 0-2 in games Pickett has not started. 

Rudolph, who got a few reps in garbage time late in Saturday's loss, will finally get a chance to start Saturday against the Bengals. Rudolph may not be Pickett, but it's hard to fathom him playing worse than Trubisky has. 

3. Letting the standard slip 

This has nothing to do with Roethlisberger's recent comments about how Pittsburgh's offense has let some of the team's traditions fall by the wayside. It has everything to do with the lack of effort displayed by George Pickens and Diontae Johnson during games. In Pickens' case, those actions continue to be an issue; he ran away from the Colts' defender who made a pick in Saturday's loss and gave up on a blocking assignment that possibly cost the Steelers a touchdown. 

Johnson apologized for his actions, but Pickens has not only not apologize but he has continued to loaf. Not hustling during a football game warrants a spot on the bench in high school. In the NFL, it's liable to get you placed on waivers. 

Steelers players not hustling, more than the losing, has to hurt the team's proud legends who worked hard to make the franchise what it ultimately became. It's a slap in the face to the franchise's current and former players and to the fans who devote time and money to watch the team on a weekly basis. It's also a blatant disrespect of the head coach. 

Watching Pickens' actions on Saturday was the low point in what has been a dark season for the Steelers. More than winning, regaining a winning culture needs to be Tomlin's focus from here on out, even if it costs him his 17th straight winning season.