The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Do you feel any less concerned about the looming specter of the Patriots following the events of last night?
It would seem that an early shipment of 19-0 t-shirts will be sent out early to needy African villages following the Patriots’ season-opening loss last night to the Chiefs. And it wasn’t just the loss on the scoreboard, as they also suffered other losses both on and off the field.
Prior to the game, the Patriots already gave Julian Edelman company on injured reserve with the addition of Malcolm Mitchell. During the game, Danny Amendola and Dont’a Hightower left with injuries, Amendola a head injury, Hightower a knee injury.
While New England still has Chris Hogan, Brandin Cooks, and the recently-acquired Phillips Dorsett, the only other wide receiver on the roster is special-teams ace Matthew Slater, so in all honesty, if Amendola misses some time, it would not at all be surprising if we see Demarcus Ayers activated to the 53-man roster, especially since Amendola was their primary punt returner.
One thing is for sure, however, and that is that the Patriots offensive lined looked more susceptible to pressure than many anticipated—granted, the Chiefs have a very good front seven—and that the defense is not a prime-time ready as they were last season. They only allowed 15 points a game last year, and if the season ended today, after one game, they would already be averaging nearly three points a game over 16 by virtue of giving up 42 last night.
The Steelers will not have to face the Patriots—in Pittsburgh—until mid-December, so a lot of things can happen between now and then, one of them in all likelihood being Bill Belichick quickly righting the ship.
Still, last night definitely exposed some chinks in the armor. So do you feel any differently about the prospects of the Steelers getting past the Patriots this season in their quest for the Super Bowl than you did 24 hours ago?