The Pittsburgh Steelers may be 2-4 on the season, but they were playing better during the three games entering the bye week. They went 2-1 during that time, and their one loss came in overtime after their starting quarterback was knocked out with a concussion. They are a team that is trending upward.
The key to maintain that momentum coming off of their bye. While head coach Mike Tomlin overall has a solid record of winning games after the bye, he had more recent struggles with a bit of a losing streak in such games not too long ago.
Their next opponent is the winless Miami Dolphins, a team they are trying their hardest not to take lightly. They can’t afford to, given where they have been and where they have to go in order to accomplish their goals. And Tomlin talked about just that yesterday in his pre-game press conference.
“I think when you’re in the state that we’re in, like I’ve said in here repeatedly, it’s about our level of understanding of our plan, our detail in terms of our execution, the speed with which we play, the physicality with which we play”, he told reporters.
In other words, it’s on us. It’s not about who we play, but about how we play, and how we execute what it is that we mean to execute. Control what you can control, and let the other variables come at you as they do. Especially as you work your way back into action.
“We’ll be challenged to come off the bye week and not start slow and get rolling in that regard”, he said. Tomlin has acknowledged in the past that the Steelers have gotten off to slow starts in their first game off the bye, even in 2017.
“We’ve got to be cautious about some of the things that we ask our guys to do”, he went on, “given some of the conversations we’ve had about people coming back into the fold from injury and the inclusion of young people and so forth. We will. We’re excited about getting back in Heinz Field and doing it in primetime”.
The Baltimore Ravens are idle this week, but they got a big win on Sunday by beating the Seattle Seahawks at home. That put them at 5-2 on the season, three games ahead of the Steelers in the loss column with nine games (for them) left to go.
The Steelers desperately need them to start stacking loss if they have any hope of catching up, but equally important, they have to start stacking wins. And this goes back to what Tomlin said earlier. It’s about their understanding, their planning, their execution.