PITTSBURGH — Mike Tomlin kept waiting for the offense Matt Canada put together to show signs of life.

Signs of progress. Signs of the kind of dynamic play required to get where the franchise so desperately wants to go.

The signs never came. Not often enough or consistent enough anyway.

Not in 2021, when Canada and Ben Roethlisberger reached a frosty detente before squeaking into the playoffs. Not in 2022, when Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett carried a game plan designed exclusively to minimize risk.

And certainly not this year, when the weeks passed and the progress Tomlin kept expecting to see never materialized amid a flurry of three-and-outs, field goals and narrow escapes largely orchestrated by the defense.

By Tuesday morning, Tomlin had seen enough, firing Canada in a nearly unprecedented in-season move for one of the most stable clubs in the NFL.

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Pittsburgh hadn’t made an in-season coaching change at the coordinator level or higher since going through three head coaches in 1941.

Tomlin felt as if he ran out of options with the Steelers (6-4) ranking near the bottom of the league in every statistical offensive category ahead of a trip to Cincinnati (5-5) on Sunday.

“This is a result-oriented business and to be short, the improvements were not rapid enough or consistent enough for us to proceed,” Tomlin said.

Pittsburgh is 28th in points and yards, and Pickett’s development has stalled in a season in which Tomlin expected the 2022 first-round pick to “kill it.”

Pickett threw for just 106 yards in Sunday’s 13-10 loss to Cleveland, including three straight incompletions on the Steelers’ penultimate possession with the score tied. Pittsburgh punted and Cleveland rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson guided the winning drive.

While Tomlin said in the aftermath on Sunday he wouldn’t “second guess” any of the decision-making, less than 48 hours later he jettisoned Canada and opted to split his duties between running backs coach Eddie Faulkner and quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan.

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Faulkner will serve as the coordinator, with Sullivan — an offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay and with the New York Giants earlier in his career — serving as the play-caller.

COLTS: Indianapolis waived three-time All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard in a surprising move after the Colts played themselves back into the playoff race.

The decision to part ways with Leonard, the 2018 AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, comes shortly after he complained publicly about his decreased playing time this season.

Indy (5-5) was trying to bring back the playmaking linebacker slowly after undergoing two back surgeries to repair a nerve injury.

Leonard was best known for two traits on the field — his ability to chase down opponents and his penchant for creating turnovers.

The injury limited those skills substantially in 2021 and 2022, when he missed all but three games because of several injuries.

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CHIEFS: The Kansas City Chiefs have lost two of their past three games and quite easily could have lost all of them.

Oddly enough, their offense has been the biggest problem.

That prolific aerial attack led by league MVP Patrick Mahomes and All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce has been abysmal during a month-long swoon, and perhaps never worse than it was Monday night.

Kansas City was shut out in the second half for the third straight game, allowing the Philadelphia Eagles to rally for a 21-17 victory in their Super Bowl rematch.

“It’s penalties. Miscues. We’ve got to find ways to score,” said Mahomes, who threw for just 177 yards and two touchdowns with a pick in the end zone. “The defense is playing great football. Has been all year. On offense, we’ve got to find ways to finish.”

The Chiefs have scored 53 points in the second half of games this season, and their three second-half shutouts are tied for the most in the NFL all season. They had five drops against Philadelphia and their 26 dropped passes this season are also the worst in the league. And then there were the penalties, which continued to derail second-half drives.

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BROWNS: QB Deshaun Watson had surgery in Los Angeles to repair a fracture in his right shoulder, an injury that ended his second season in Cleveland after just nine games.

Watson was already dealing with a strained right rotator cuff when he suffered the break in his throwing shoulder during the first half against Baltimore on Nov. 12.

The Browns said shoulder specialist Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the surgery to fix the displaced fracture of Watson’s right glenoid (socket).

The 28-year-old will begin rehab later this week and the team expects Watson to be fully recovered “prior to the start of the 2024 season.”

RAVENS: Tight end Mark Andrews had surgery on his injured ankle, according to a person with knowledge of the operation.

Andrews was injured in Thursday’s 34-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Coach John Harbaugh said after that game Andrews would probably miss the rest of the season, although he expressed cautious optimism Monday that Andrews might be able to return at some point.

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RAMS: The Los Angeles Rams have waived running back Darrell Henderson for the second time in two seasons.

The Rams dropped Henderson after a four-game return to the team with which he won the Super Bowl two seasons ago.

Kyren Williams, the Rams’ starting running back this season, is expected to return from a four-game absence with a sprained ankle Sunday against Arizona.

Henderson rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns on 46 carries over the past four games with the Rams (4-6), who drafted him in the third round in 2019.

He also caught 10 passes for 103 yards after stepping right back into the injury-depleted Rams’ lineup last month.


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