I don’t think there has ever been a time in Pittsburgh Steelers fandom in which the sky was not falling after a loss. The sky began to fall last year when they lost to the Chicago Bears, and again against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The stars came crashing down like daggers from the celestial planes when they lost to the New England Patriots.
The Steelers right now are 0-1-1 after two games. That’s not good. But it’s actually not horrible, either. It’s barely worse than 1-1, which is the record that they typically have after two games. And how quickly we forget that the team was 4-5, with a losing record and a three-game losing streak to boot, during the 2016 season.
After that, if you might recall, they proceeded to win their final seven games of the regular season. Then they beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wildcard Round. Then they beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round, reaching the AFC Championship Game for the first time since 2010.
The Steelers had a losing record more than halfway through the season and still came up just a game shy of returning to the Super Bowl. The villagers were burning their own homes as they lost three games in a row, but everybody was suddenly on board by the time the postseason rolled around.
This is a team that builds steam as the season progresses. It’s not necessary to dissect the reasons why right now, or to debate on whether or not that’s a good thing. The point is simply that having a 0-1-1 record through two games is not the nail in the coffin for the season. There are already calls for immediate firings and the desire to tank the rest of the year. That is ridiculous.
Things have not changed significantly between now and two weeks ago. It’s still the same team with the same talent, and that is talent that is capable of winning the Super Bowl. They need to raise their level of performance and consistency, to be sure, but they have the ability to do that.
There are still a lot of new and moving parts. There are new faces on defense who are acclimating. There are injuries that are being overcome. There are new coaches on the staff, and there is going to be some adjustment period.
The key is simply to get through the adjustment period with enough wins to set you up for a competitive seed in the postseason. Yes, they need to turn things around pretty quickly if they want to avoid making it a necessity to go on another epic winning streak just to qualify, but this is also a roster that is capable of doing that when necessary.
Vance McDonald is just getting back on the field. Joe Haden and David DeCastro should be back imminently. Terrell Edmunds and Cameron Sutton are just getting their feet wet. Morgan Burnett and Jon Bostic will come along. Randy Fichtner is feeling out his new position. These things will take time, but there is still time. R-E-L-A-X. Maybe they do have it anymore.