The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, in which they entered with big aspirations, in spite of a tumultuous start to the offseason. Significant players were lost via trade and free agency, players who have helped shape the course of the franchise in recent years. We even now sit here without Ben Roethlisberger after just two games.
The team made some bold moves this offseason and in some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago. That would especially be the case at wide receiver and inside linebacker, where they have new starters. And quarterback was suddenly added to that list.
How will the season progress without Roethlisberger, behind Mason Rudolph, and now Devlin Hodges? How will the young players advance into their expected roles? Will the new coaches be up to the task? Who is looking good in games? Who is sitting out due to injury?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will the Steelers finally snap their turnover streak, now at 20 games? And how important will it be?
It’s probably not the longest in history, but since last season, the Steelers have turned the ball over at least once in 20 consecutive games. That’s by far the longest active streak in the NFL, the second-longest being eight games.
The Buffalo Bills are among the more ball-secure teams in the NFL this year, especially recently, so they can’t necessarily count on getting the ball from them. That said, the same discussion was had prior to the games against the Indianapolis Colts and the Arizona Cardinals, and uh, that worked out fine.
It’s worth noting that the two games this season in which the Steelers failed to take the ball away both happened on the road. In each of their first seven home games, they have been able to get at least two takeaways.
But will they be able to protect the football? And how big of a role will that play in the game?
Last week, it was Benny Snell fumbling, for the first time. He has otherwise shown pretty stout ball security, however, so I’m not necessarily worried about a repeat performance there.
As for Devlin Hodges, he is coming off his best game in terms of protecting the football, so that’s a good sign. But Mason Rudolph was good protecting the ball as well until he wasn’t. And hasn’t had to play from behind too much. If he’s faced with that task, how will he be taking care of the ball under those circumstances?