The only thing Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin likes to do to a loss than to own it is to chew on it. Following the team’s ugly 21-7 defeat on Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns, he advised quarterback Mason Rudolph and the rest of the locker room to do both in the aftermath of that game.
“He just said, ‘hey, own it, chew on it’”, Rudolph said of Tomlin’s message to the game after Thursday’s game. “We’ve got a long season ahead of us still, got plenty of games to get back into this thing. We’ll get prepared for Cincinnati just like any other week. We’ll continue to move on, watch the tape, and go through the critical analysis”.
By now, the team should have gotten plenty of owning and chewing out of the way. Now it’s Monday, the start of the work week, and that means preparing for the next team on the schedule. That happens to be the other team in Ohio, the Cincinnati Bengals, who are coming off of their 10th consecutive victory during the 2019 season.
Knowing Steelers fans, of course, they fully expect the Bengals to get their first and only win of the season on Sunday against Pittsburgh when they come to down. Truthfully, I can’t say that that isn’t a fair outcome, but I think we can at least allow that the Steelers are the better team.
The Steelers didn’t get any help yesterday, as the Baltimore Ravens won their sixth straight game to stretch their lead at the top of the AFC North to three games. The Oakland Raiders, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Buffalo Bills all won their games as well, making the Wildcard possibilities for Pittsburgh that much more difficult.
Also complicating things is the fact that the Steelers are still dealing with the aftermath of their last game against the Browns, which saw two of their top wide receivers suffer concussions and their starting running back leave the game after aggravating his shoulder injury. Pittsburgh is on to Cincinnati, but will James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and/or Diontae Johnson be joining them?
They are also coming down from the emotional intensity of the melee that took place at the end of that Browns game, which resulted in Rudolph being hit in the head with his own helmet courtesy of Myles Garrett, who was suspended indefinitely from that act.
The Steelers play the Browns in the game after this, so they could be caught looking ahead to that one. That is the last thing they need, of course. If they fall to the Bengals, they can pretty much write the season off. Then it doesn’t matter what happens in Cleveland.