The Pittsburgh Steelers own a 1-3 record so far this season. They own an offense that ranked among the league’s bottom 10 entering Sunday, and will remain there for another week after a 27-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers. They own the bottom spot in the AFC North, trailing matching 3-1 records from the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, and Baltimore Ravens.
And they also own their performances from a rough start to the season, a point expressed by head coach Mike Tomlin in the final answer of his postgame press conference Sunday.
“With all due respect to Green Bay? It’s not about what they did or did not do. It’s about the quality of our play and the positions that we put our people in. We always own that,” Tomlin said. “We’re not seeking comfort in terms of the outcome of plays or sequences or games for that matter. We own our performances.”
Pittsburgh’s loss continues a slide down the league’s power rankings after beginning the season with an upset of the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. The latest, a defeat against the Packers and Aaron Rodgers in a rematch of Super Bowl XLV, showed some continuing issues for the team.
The offense, averaging 308 yards per game prior to Week 4, finished with only 282. The rushing game again didn’t approach 100 yards, finishing with 62. The passing game never clicked, with Ben Roethlisberger missing easy throws and the offensive line continuing its growing pains. And the overall gameplan under offensive coordinator Matt Canada struggled to put up points, keep Pittsburgh in control, and left some more puzzling decisions in fourth down situations.
The defense had its moments, good and bad. It got some stops in the fourth quarter to continue giving the offense chances, and had a forced fumble from Chris Wormley in the second half. The special teams even got in on the action, blocking a field goal and returning it for a touchdown before a blown call wiped away the points at the end of the first half.
But the overall result was a 27-17 loss, and the team’s first start of 1-3 or worse with a healthy Roethlisberger since 2013. Pittsburgh owns its performances, but it also owns the questions that come for how the team is going to turn things around.