Disappointing as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ loss to the Las Vegas Raiders was, it was just that. One loss. The rest of the AFC North can say the same thing, a division entirely full of .500 clubs. That’s the lens in which Cam Heyward is viewing things two weeks in, speaking to reporters before Thursday’s practice.
“We lost one game,” Heyward told reporters via Steelers.com. “I’m not here to act like the season’s over with. We’ve got a long season ahead of us. We’ve got another opponent coming up. It’s AFC north. Everybody’s records, 1-1 in our division. So game on.”
Fans of every team in the division can look at the pros and cons to the season. Cleveland blew a two-score lead against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1 and struggled more than most anticipated to beat the Houston Texans last Sunday. Baltimore was upset by the Raiders in Week 1, a sloppy, wild game, before mounting a comeback against the Chiefs in Week 2. Cincinnati squeaked out an overtime victory against the Minnesota Vikings before getting turnover happy in a loss to the Bears on Sunday.
Pittsburgh looked on top of the world with a win over Buffalo in the opener before falling to the Raiders, a team who looks like a real threat in the AFC this season, having beaten two AFC North teams already.
Heyward is showing why he’s a captain and leader of this team. It’s easy to ride the roller coaster of emotions that come with a season, the highs after a win, the lows after a loss. Approaching each week the same way, win or lose, especially early in the year, is critical. It’s also a way to lead by example for younger players more prone in getting caught up in the noise, the ones who are on social media more often and hear the outside world.
It’s Week 3. The loss is behind Heyward. The only thing left to do is focus on Cincinnati.
“I think it goes back to our preparation,” he said. “Our practice and what we’ve done has to be above par. We gotta get rolling. If we’re going to have success on Sunday, it starts right now.”