The Cleveland Browns have the best record of any team that the Pittsburgh Steelers have played so far this year. And that game ended in a blowout. They have also played some ‘bad’ teams close, having to come back late to beat a backup, and allowing others to hang around.
So has every other good team in the league. And every other team has lost, too. It’s just football. There are very few instances in which a team never has a ‘so-so’ game against a team that they should beat easily over the course of an entire season.
The Steelers aren’t built that way, but they are built for consistency, which is why they rank high in both points scored and points allowed. So far, it’s been the key to their success, and nobody has been more successful. But today, they have another ‘bad’ team on their hands in the Washington Football Team, who come into the game riding a two-game winning streak, but are ultimately just 4-7.
And chance are they’re not going to blow them out. You never go into a game, as a professional, expecting that you’re going to blow the other team out. At least you shouldn’t, as a basic level of respect for the professionals on the other side of the field. And sometimes ‘bad’ teams are closer to being good than their record indicates. Sometimes they are a problem for some teams based on their strengths.
“They match up well against us. This is a very, very big challenge for us”, defensive coordinator Keith Butler said of Washington. “They run the ball well. We’re going to have to stop the run, and we’re going to have to pressure the quarterback as much as we can. I’m excited about this game”.
Washington has some exciting young skill position components such as Antonio Gibson and Terry McLaurin that will be a problem, and tight end Logan Thomas is a threat as well. Quarterback Alex Smith is playing his way into form heading into his fourth start back under center.
“Everyone says, ‘well shoot, they’re 4-7 and blah, blah, blah. Or shoot, you should’ve beat the stew out of Baltimore’”, Butler said. “Nobody beats the stew out of nobody in the National Football League. That’s the reason the National Football League is the NFL. That’s what makes it the NFL. For us, we’ve got to make sure we’re ready to play these guys. This is going to be a challenge for us, and we look forward to it”.
At the end of the day, the Steelers only have to score one more point than their opponents. If they do that 19 times this year, they’ll be hoisting a trophy at the end. Everything else is fodder for talking heads and bloggers.