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: Is the offense finally prepared to break out of its shell and put together a complete game?
We have been waiting for half a season now for the ‘real’ Pittsburgh Steelers offense to show its face, but to date we have only seen a mediocre facsimile of it, churning out about only two thirds of the production that it should be capable of producing.
But there have been some signs of life. The team seemed like it was sleepwalking through much of the first half against the Colts, but began to turn things around by the end of the second quarter, getting a field goal on the board by the end of the half.
They then put up 17 points in the second half, and received significant plays from virtually all of their key players, including Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Martavis Bryant, Le’Veon Bell, and Vance McDonald. Even Eli Rogers had a key third-down conversion on what proved to be the game-winning drive.
The offense certainly looked closer to being in sync in the second half than it did in the first, and even managed to score a couple of touchdowns in the red zone. But I was more intrigued by the fact that they were getting plays from a number of contributors, with Bryant turning in a few key plays of his own for the first time in a while.
The Steelers tomorrow will be playing just their fourth home game of the season, and by now they certainly should be in ‘midseason form’, so if it’s not now that their offense finally comes ‘alive’, then when? Perhaps never. And that is the concern.
While the Titans may have Dick LeBeau, Dick LeBeau doesn’t have the players he did a decade ago in Pittsburgh. There is no reason that the Steelers should not be able to find a good deal of success against this Tennessee defense.