It might seem like a small thing, but the Pittsburgh Steelers are 2-0. They haven’t been 2-0 since 2017, a year in which they went 13-3, and which they duplicated in the previous season, which culminated in their reaching the AFC Championship game. The last time they were 2-0 prior to that was in 2010, when they last reached the Super Bowl.
Consider also the fact that it took the Steelers six weeks a year ago to notch their second win, after losing their first three, and four out of their first five. It took them five weeks during the 2018 season to get their second win, although by that time they also had a tie, and so through five weeks were 2-2-1.
2-0, however, you can’t ask for better than that. Especially when your competition in the division is the Baltimore Ravens, who have continued to dominate opponents in the regular season. After steamrolling the Cleveland Browns 38-6 on opening weekend, they took down the Houston Texans on Sunday on the road by yet another comfortable margin of 33-16. They host the Kansas City Chiefs next week, while the Steelers host the Texans, so if they have any hope of winning the AFC North this year, this is the type of game they have to capitalize on.
And if we’re being honest, the Steelers’ first two opponents were relative lightweights in the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos. As far as Denver was concerned, they went into the game without Von Miller and A.J. Bouye and Phillip Lindsey, and then lost Drew Lock early in the game, and it was still a one-possession game at the end.
Next week’s game against the Texans will give us a better feel for who the Steelers are as a team in 2020. They have all the pieces, but it’s a question of whether or not they can consistently put them together enough to beat quality opponents, which admittedly they don’t have to deal with often on their schedule, outside of Baltimore.
Pittsburgh showed a number of shortcomings in their win over Denver yesterday. How much of it can be chalked up to an unconventional offseason process that requires a longer than normal debugging period? How much of this is going to be who they are as a team?
One thing that has remained consistent has been turning the ball over. Through four games, they have three giveaways. Fortunately for them, they also have four takeaways. Ben Roethlisberger threw his first interception of the season, while Benny Snell put the ball on the ground again, losing it this time.
The Ravens protect the ball. They do have two fumbles so far on the season, one of which they lost, but they have five takeaways as well, and they’re getting sacks on top of that (four yesterday). If they handle their own business away from one another, ball security may be the deciding factor for the AFC North crown this year when they go head-to-head.