It wasn’t too long ago that I asked you all to take a breather after the Pittsburgh Steelers lost in Week Two to fall to 0-1-1 on the season. They won their next game after that. But now they’ve lost two out of three games, with just one win in four, with a 1-2-1 record. Not where they want to be.
“We have to own it. We don’t like where we are. But we accept it”, Head Coach Mike Tomlin said after the game last night. “We understand it. It’s our doing. We have to keep working. We will do that. We won’t make excuses”.
There isn’t a lot to excuse the way that they played as a team last night, with few bright spots. At least they didn’t hit double-digit penalties, for example—or miss any field goals. But the only way to go from here is up.
As I reminded two weeks ago, it was just two short seasons back in 2016 when the Steelers found themselves at 4-5 through the first seven games of the year. They were seemingly sitting pretty at 4-2 before hitting a three-game skid. But they recovered from that to finish the regular season with a clean slate of victories.
I’m not saying the Steelers are about to go on a tear. But there’s no reason to think that they can’t be better. For one thing, we know that Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown can be better. We have seen only hints of their best to date. They will get better, and so will the team as a result.
Tomlin said that the result was “disappointing tonight”, but added that “the sun will come up tomorrow. We will look at it, assess it, make necessary adjustments and things relative to our performance and who is available to us and get ready to roll again”.
“That’s our story”.
It’s not a very pleasant one to read so far for anybody who is a Steelers fan, just the second time since the Super Bowl hangover season of 2006 that the team has come out of the first quarter of the season with just a single victory. That year, they won the opener, but lost the next four, and six of the first eight.
If they learned anything from 2013, however, when they went 0-4 to start the year, it’s that they can’t deep the hole so deep that they can’t climb out. The Steelers actually ended up finishing strong that year, going 8-4 after that, and 6-2 in their final eight games, but ended up a .500 team and just shy of the postseason.
They’re certainly going to need more than eight wins to make it to the postseason this year, especially with the way the division is shaping up right now, the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals both 3-1. It’s time that they started taking over the authorship of their story.