The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: The continuous delays and uncertainty over the status of yesterday’s game was the biggest reason that the Steelers played very sloppy football.
Explanation: While not searching for excuses, there is no denying that yesterday’s game featured a number of aberrations, and simply felt like a game that was being played on the wrong day. Frustrations also play a role here.
You can tell simply by watching that virtually everything about this game was ‘off’. Arguably, Ben Roethlisberger was the most consistent player on the field, outside of his bad interception. His numbers would look much better if his receivers did not drop passes.
The week and a half leading up to the game was a seesaw practice schedule, players not knowing when they would get rest and when they wouldn’t, based on what the decision was that day for whether or not the game was still on for the scheduled date.
So many things took the team off whatever rhythm it might have had. Simply playing on a Wednesday in and of itself is abnormal and peculiar. Playing at 3:40 as the only game on that day is peculiar. All of these oddities add up to people not doing what they’re supposed to be doing when they’re supposed to be doing it, lacking concentration, and things of that nature.
Delays don’t make you drop footballs. They don’t make you fail to signal for a fair catch in a situation in which you clearly should, and should know, no matter what day it is. Delays don’t put players in contact with Covid-19, and the absences of three starters didn’t help.
As head coach Mike Tomlin said, the Steelers’ struggles can be attributed to “us sucking”, period. They sucked because they sucked. They didn’t complete catches that they should. They didn’t make tackles that they should. They looked like the team that didn’t get to practice, even if they had more of their starters.