Here’s the thing the kneejerk reactors seem to be forgetting right now: the Pittsburgh Steelers still have most of the season in front of them, and believe it or not, getting blown out by the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in Foxboro in the opener after their banner-raising ceremony is not the worst possible thing that can happen.
There’s still a lot of football left. They’ve done as bad or worse to lesser competition in the opener and gone on to make a deep postseason run. Remember after the 2016 Week Three 34-3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, with everybody insisting that this is who the real Steelers are? They ended up making it to the AFC Championship Game that year. This is just one loss. They could win 33-3 next week, and then people would overreact the opposite way. AB who?
So let’s settle down, get through our frustrations, blow off that initial steam, and move on. “It’s humbling and it sucks, but that’s the National Football League”, as Tomlin said. “It won’t define us if we don’t let it”.
Now, you can bet that those on the outside are certainly going to do their best to try to let this define who the Steelers are. By the time this publishes, that aforementioned AB may have already posted something on Twitter or Instagram taking a shot at JuJu Smith-Schuster and/or Ben Roethlisberger. But it won’t matter.
The Steelers’ motto for this season is shut out the noise, and frankly, that includes the overreactions from the fanbase. The entire coaching staff doesn’t need to be fired. Was anybody on the field at all good enough last night? Probably not. But it happens sometimes. The Patriots themselves went 11-5 last year, including a 26-10 loss to the Detroit Lions in Week Three and a 34-10 trouncing by the Tennessee Titans.
Tomlin admitted that the problem on the Steelers’ end was two-fold: “not a good enough plan, not a good enough execution of that plan”. And yeah, that’s usually how it goes in such games. It’s hard to lose by 30 points, even to the Patriots, without multiple failures on multiple fronts when you don’t have any particularly unusual results.
But let’s be real. I think at least the majority of us understand that the Steelers are better, can be better, than the team that took the field last night. The Patriots on paper actually have a great defense this year, which is always well-coached, and they had a great plan in place to stop the passing game.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s next opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, had the conduct a comeback just to beat the Cincinnati Bengals, whom everybody believed heading into the season would be the worst team in the AFC North. A Bengals team, remember, without A.J. Green.