If you’re a fan of a bad team and want a boost of morale, all you have to do is listen to the pre-game press conference of your next opponent, because there’s never going to be a time when you hear them talked up more. You hear Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin do it on a weekly basis. He made a winless Cleveland Browns team sound like a juggernaut not so long ago.
This week, the .200 Steelers are heading west to face the Los Angeles Chargers, down to a quarterback who didn’t even make their initial practice squad, but Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn was weary of facing them, and Devlin Hodges.
“I don’t see them as a 1-4 football team. They’ve lost three games by nine points”, he said of the Steelers. “They lead this league in takeaways, forced fumbles. It’s just a matter of time before that group gets it together, and I know that they’ve gone through a couple of quarterbacks, but the young man who came in last week, I thought he was outstanding”.
He was referring to Hodges, who had to come in during the second half after Mason Rudolph suffered a concussion from a hit taken by Earl Thomas that will result in him receiving a fine this week, if he hasn’t gotten one already.
“This is a dangerous football team. We played them last year. We pretty much know what to expect. It’s going to be a tough, it’s going to be a physical, four-quarter football game, and we’re getting ready for it”.
While Pittsburgh is heading into this game at 1-4, the Chargers are not much better at 2-3, and while they do have their quarterback, Philip Rivers, running at full capacity, they do have a number of starters on the sidelines, including putting Mike Pouncey on the Reserve/Injured List yesterday.
All of the teams that the Steelers have lost to this season are, ostensibly, good teams. Outside of the 3-2 Baltimore Ravens, their other three losses have come against teams who already have at least four wins, including the 5-0 New England Patriots, the 4-0 San Francisco 49ers, and the 4-1 Seattle Seahawks.
Pittsburgh has had a tough schedule, for sure, which hasn’t made it any easier for them to transition on offense the way they need to in light of the injuries that they have dealt with, but the game doesn’t wait for anybody. You have to adjust on the fly in the face of whatever adversity is coming up next.
This week, two teams weather storms of their own will collide out in Los Angeles. Even though it’s out west, this should be one of the better opportunities they have had so far this season to win a game.