The regular season is here, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are taking their practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the real work is now upon us, there is plenty left to be done.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they wade through a regular season in which they are, at least supposed to be, among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.
Question: Are the Steelers going to be a Jekyll and Hyde team this year?
Over the course of the first two games of the season, the Steelers were able to win fairly handily, but they did not necessarily look particularly convincing in doing so, particularly against the Bengals in the second game.
Last week, they looked absolutely dreadful in what was the worst loss in the Mike Tomlin era. Last night? They responded with one of the biggest wins in Tomlin’s 10 seasons. Going from a 31-point loss to a 29-point win has to be one of the largest swings from one game to the next on record.
So that has to beg the question: is this what the 2016 Steelers are? Obviously, they are not the team that lost to the Eagles. Not alone, anyway. And they are probably not going to be the team that just trounced the Chiefs, either.
But are they the kind of team that can go either way at any given week? Perhaps not so far as to lose or win consistently by four or five possessions, but to have the outcome, whether or positive or negative, come in fairly handy fashion?
After all, thus far, only one of their results has been decided by a sole possession, that being the second game against the Bengals, and even that was an eight-point margin. They have lost by 31 points, but they have also won by 22 points, and now by 29 points.
Now just to illustrate my point, I checked the numbers, and the Steelers are the only team in the league to have had three of their first four games decided by a margin of at least 20 points. In fact, only three teams have had more than one game decided by such a wide margin.
The majority of teams have had less than two such games thus far, and many have not been involved in any such games. Though it must be pointed out that the 49ers come close. They lost be 28 points, and then they lost twice by 19 points. But even if we accept that, that is all Jekyll and no Hyde.