PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers' offense, advertised as one of the league's most high-powered, has failed to score more than 20 points in a game through three weeks.
Players have had enough after Sunday's 23-17 overtime loss to the Chicago Bears.
"We're so much better than this. It's tough to waste all the talent we have," guard David DeCastro said. "Look at the offense we have. If we're not putting up 350, 400 yards a game, it feels like we're wasting it."
The offense managed 282 yards against the winless Bears and averaged 302.33 yards per game for the season. The past three seasons, Pittsburgh has hovered between 372 and 411 yards per game.
In two road games, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is 21-of-25 for 291 yards and a touchdown when targeting Antonio Brown and 25-of-50 for 206 yards and an interception when targeting everyone else. On the final drive of regulation, with 52 seconds left, the Steelers managed 9 yards on three plays, including a sack for an 8-yard loss.
Roethlisberger fell on the sword at his postgame news conference.
"I need to play better football, and I will take this game on me," Roethlisberger said. "I did not play well enough. I missed too many throws, did not make good reads or whatever it is, turned the ball over on a sack fumble. Cannot do that, so this one is on me."
The Steelers aren't getting the explosive plays in the running game. Le'Veon Bell's longest run of the season was 15 yards. Getting Martavis Bryant going has been an issue for the offense, despite his 91-yard performance in Week 2 against Minnesota. The Steelers failed to convert five deep-ball attempts Sunday, and the offense didn't get a chance in overtime after Bears tailback Jordan Howard burst through a hole for a 19-yard walk-off score.
A tally of Steelers' talent vs. production confuses tight end Jesse James.
"We have the best receiver, the best running back, the best quarterback in the NFL, we have a helluva offensive line, a great core of receivers and a solid tight end group. To only put up 17 points per game is that [a waste]," James said. "It means we're not executing the play calls being made. I don't know if it's lack of prep or not getting locked in when things are going crazy on the field. We have to improve. If the defense holds a team to 17 points, we should be able to win."
Things won't get any easier. The next stop is Baltimore, where the Steelers have averaged 12.3 points per game in their past three road games against the Ravens.
Cleaning up road play, somehow, is priority No. 1.
"I don't know if it's something in the food, the water," DeCastro joked. "It just sucks because you can prepare all week, feel good, then come out here and lay a big, fat egg. We're shooting ourselves in the foot a lot."