I won’t bother beating around the bush. The Steelers looked plain awful on Sunday in their 23-17 defeat at the hands of the Bears in Week 3. All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell looked less like he was rusty and more like he’s letting his slow start really get to him. Ben Roethlisberger failed to get anything really done in the pass game outside of Antonio Brown. Matters weren’t helped at all when Steelers kicker Chris Boswell had his 2nd quarter blocked kick returned for nearly a touchdown. But after the Bears defensive back Marcus Cooper slowed up around the 15 yard line it allowed Steelers tight end Vance McDonald to come from behind and strip the ball. The whole fiasco lasted way longer than it should’ve and proved to be a major factor in deciding the final score.
Bad form? Or bad team?
The Steelers get no breaks from here though as they play their toughest game of the season to this point, traveling to Baltimore to play their old pals the Ravens. This should be a fun game to watch. But before we dive into the game, there’s one question most of Steeler Nation has. Are the Steelers good?
Their offense has come out flat in the first three games of the 2017 season. Continuously needing saved by the defense and special teams. There’s no getting around it. This team lives and dies by their offense. The defense is good-but-not-great as is the special teams unit. So the pressure unfortunately gets forced on Big Ben, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell. Past performances have shown that when those three fail to get going, this team has no hope of winning.
With the negativity out of the way. There is major props that this team needs for its overall performance. Sure the offense has resembled nothing close to what fans expect from offensive coordinator Todd Haley and the guys on the field. But the defense has shown this year that they can keep the game close and give the offense every chance possible to get off the ground. The special teams have been doing their job as well to start the season, constantly setting the offense up in good field position and punter Jordan Berry has kept opponents close to their own end zone for most of the young season.
I have confidence that this offense will get going. It’s too good to struggle for this long. Steeler fans have to be proud to have a head coach like Mike Tomlin, who made no excuses after the teams first loss of 2017, saying “I’ve got a disappointed group in there and appropriately so. We fought our tails off, but wasn’t able to finish the job. Faced a lot of adversity today, but most of it created by us. In the first half. I thought that we turned the ball over, you’re minus two in the first half, plus a blocked kick. You’re probably fortunate to be down by ten” If there’s anyone I want to hand the controls to, it’s Mike Tomlin. There aren’t many coaches that can fire up their team like Tomlin can.
On the field however, Ben Roethlisberger knows what makes this team tick. He knows how to get the most out of it when he needs it, and he wasn’t happy about his performance in week three. Saying, “The quarterback needs to play better, I didn’t play well enough to win. We lost the game because of me because I didn’t play well enough. It’s not on anyone else. That’s how I felt, that’s what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to own it. And I’ll own it.” He later said “If I play better in that game, I feel we win the game. If I play better in the first two weeks, then we’re going to score more points and have a productive offense and we don’t have to answer questions about why our offense isn’t where it is.”
There must be nothing better as a player than to hear your on-field leader take full responsibility for a loss. Big Ben and the Steelers will look to rebound from Week 3 on Sunday in Baltimore. They’ll need a win to not only comfort the fan base, but also to bring an end to the criticism the team has received to this point. Look for the Steelers to either attempt to get their passing attack to full strength or get Le’Veon Bell enough touches to knock off what rust he has left from his preseason lockout. Make no mistake. The Steelers are not only good, they are poised to break off a big run.
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