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2020 South Side Questions: Is It Time To Hit The Panic Button?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.

Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.

As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion

Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.

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: Is it time to panic about who the Steelers are in 2020?

Even though the Steelers have dropped two games—including one last night against a very good Buffalo Bills team—they are still 11-2 on the season, with the second-best record in the league. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said they are not hitting the panic button after dropping two games.

They have, after all, already clinched a postseason berth, and are still in good position to win the division, with a one-game lead over the Cleveland Browns and a game in-hand. Even if they lose to the Browns in the finale, they are still likely to finish with a better divisional record, so they would still own the top tiebreaker if they should both finish 13-3, for example.

But who is going to be afraid of a team that loses three or more of its final three games? And is this a team that, at this point, anybody really thinks is going to beat both the Browns and the Indianapolis Colts?

It’s not about whether they’re winning or losing games, but how they’re playing. They can’t run the ball consistently. The deep passing game has never developed at any part of the season. Teams are jumping their short passes.

Even the defense wasn’t getting home in the pass rush, which had been their most reliable quality all year. The Bills possessed the ball very well in the second half and just blew the game open. How much can this team improve by the time the playoffs roll around? Is this going to be a one-and-done team? How did they win those 11 games after playing like this?

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