Generally speaking, it’s not that frequent that the Pittsburgh Steelers lose a game. It’s even more rare for the New England Patriots to drop one. That makes is all the more scarce to see both top teams lose in the same week. And to have both of them coming off of losses heading into a critical game against one another? Well that certainly adds an interesting wrinkle to Sunday’s festivities at Heinz Field.
The losses of both teams have upped the stakes on both sides, but particularly for the Steelers, who are not fighting for their playoffs lives and surely know that they will almost without doubt need at least one win over the next two games against the Patriots and the New Orleans Saints.
The Patriots, meanwhile, are trying to preserve their position for a bye week. They already lost substantial ground due to their shocking defeat on a miracle play against the Miami Dolphins in terms of securing homefield advantage, but now they must stay ahead of the Houston Texans, who share the same record as they do currently.
Head Coach Mike Tomlin was not unappreciative of the fact that these are two teams coming into Sunday’s game with something of a bruised pride. That is something that he addressed yesterday during his pre-game press conference, though he would only speak to his half of the story.
“We are licking our wounds as we should when you are unsuccessful in this business, but not a lot of time for that”, he said. We understand that as well. Sunday is coming, man we are excited about an opportunity to compete and get this negative taste out of our mouths as I am sure New England is. They are coming off of a bitter, disappointing game”.
Saying that it’s “going to be high stakes” with “a big-time atmosphere”, he allowed that he was “excited about it and looking forward more important to this week’s preparation for the opportunity”, saying that there is “a lot of work to be done”.
Later in the press conference, a reporter asked him to try to weigh in on the Patriots’ mindset heading into the game following a loss, but Tomlin was hesitant to do so. “I don’t know” was all he offered, “particularly as it pertains to the [bad] taste in their mouth. I can speak to the bad taste in our mouth. We don’t like it”.
New England is a team that very rarely loses more than one game in a row, and considering that they have already lost in consecutive weeks earlier this season, it’s hard to expect to make that happen twice in one year. These two proud teams licking their wounds will provide an added layer of drama to Sunday’s proceedings that may unfold in unpredictable ways.