2021 South Side Questions: Did Steelers Really ‘Give Up’?

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is underway, and they are hoping for a better outcome in comparison to last season. After starting out 11-0, they finished the year 1-4 in the regular season, and then lost in the Wildcard Round to the Cleveland Browns, ignited by a 0-28 first quarter.

They have lost a large number of key players in the offseason, like Maurkice Pouncey, Bud Dupree, Alejandro Villanueva, David DeCastro, Mike Hilton, and Steven Nelson, but they’ve also made significant additions as the months have gone on, notably Trai Turner, Melvin Ingram, Joe Schobert, and Ahkello Witherspoon. They also added Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, Kendrick Green, and Dan Moore Jr., all of whom look to be in a starting role (or complementary role in Freiermuth’s case) for the season opener.

There isn’t much left to do but to play the games at this point. They have a 53-man roster, though it will always change to some degree. They still have a lot to figure out, though, such as what Matt Canada’s offense is going to look like in any given week, or how the new-look secondary and offensive line is going to play.

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. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.

Question: Did the Steelers really ‘give up’ at the end of Sunday’s game (and would it matter if they did)?

After beating the Steelers at Heinz Field for the first time in several years, Cincinnati Bengals players were certainly in a talkative mood yesterday, particularly Pittsburgh native Tyler Boyd, whose first NFL introduction to Heinz Field saw him lose a fumble courtesy of James Harrison.

The veteran wide receiver scored a touchdown in the game to help beat his hometown team, and speaking yesterday, said that the Steelers gave up at the end of the game. They did drop three passes in a row on their final three plays, all short throws, though dropped passes doesn’t mean a lack of trying.

Body language was certainly poor as frustrations begin to mount with the lack of progress that this unit is making, but giving up is a pretty strong statement to make about somebody else. Appearances, though, are certainly not great.

Yet a week after the Steelers were ridiculed for running a play in a one-score game at the end of regulation when it resulted in wide receiver Diontae Johnson getting injured, this was another late-game situation, in a two-score game, in which victory was incredibly unlikely.

I don’t know if guys were just waiting to get into their cars and leave, but regardless of what happened, they obviously finished the game in shameful and embarrassing fashion, which was a fitting conclusion to an afternoon that wasn’t much better. And if this wasn’t them quitting, then they still have serious issues.

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