There may quite literally be just one silver lining from yesterday’s game. Nobody got hurt—or at least not seriously. And despite what it may seem, that’s a good thing.
On a rather basic humanitarian level, it is always preferable when those who do no harm—ethically speaking—have no harm done to them. So if you have an even rudimentary sense of empathy, then it’s obviously a good thing that the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to come out of such an ugly game healthy.
Yet I can’t help but already get a sense of the comments that will follow. Even though I’m putting it into print right here, there will be those who won’t bother to read, and will make the comment anyway. You know what’s coming. Some variation of ‘put the same people out there, get the same results’.
But it’s not as though they have other options. What exactly do they have left to tinker with? Bench T.J. Watt for James Harrison? Would that have changed what happened yesterday? They’ve already started playing Justin Hunter, which many had been demanding.
What is left for them to do? They simply have to get better with the players that they have available to them, and given how close they are to being fully healthy, they are at least in good shape to begin to execute on that end.
This is still a team that is loaded with talent. Antonio Brown continued to play at an All-Pro level. Ryan Shazier has been making plays all over the field. The defense has continued to generate pressure from the likes of Cameron Heyward, who has been playing some of the best football of his career.
All of the pieces that were previously in place when this team was viewed as potentially a championship-caliber one? They are all still here. They haven’t gone anywhere. They just lost a game, and it really sucked and all, but the loss didn’t count any more than it would ordinarily because of how much is sucked.
They have done better than they did yesterday, and they will do better again. Frankly, I don’t know exactly where Ben Roethlisberger is at this point in terms of his performance level. But if he’s not pressing, he can run a winning offense that compliments this growing defense. That I will believe until I’m proven wrong.
The bottom line is this: they lost, but they are in the same shape for the rebound that they were in before the rebound was necessary. Le’Veon Bell is still there. Stephon Tuitt is still there. Martavis Bryant is still there. Bud Dupree is still there. It’s just time for them all to live up to their potential.