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? 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 get their revenge against the Cleveland Browns?
Were it not for an ugly slip-up against the Browns two weeks ago, the Steelers would be looking at a six-game winning streak and sitting at 7-4, in fairly comfortable position for the second wildcard spot and a shot at the first, only a game behind the Buffalo Bills, whom they have yet to play. The division would even still be in reach.
As if that were not enough added motivation to get today’s win than there would ordinarily be, there is also the entire melee angle. Baffling as it is, the Browns still believe that the entire incident at the end of their last game was Mason Rudolph’s fault.
Even their head coach, Freddie Kitchens, wore a ‘Pittsburgh Started It’ shirt, amazingly enough. Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson suggested that Rudolph got what was coming to him. Jarvis Landry said it was unfair that he wasn’t suspended. Oh, and he was accused of racism, as well, with all of Myles Garrett’s teammates supporting him.
There is plenty of reason for the Steelers to want to get this win more than they ordinarily would, as though there isn’t already enough incentive. The Browns also haven’t won at Heinz Field since 2003, and haven’t swept a season series in decades.
Yet they’ll have to do it with their third-string quarterback, and without JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner, as well as Maurkice Pouncey. It won’t be an easy task by any means, especially with the way the offense has been playing lately.