I'm generally a positive person when it comes to my Steelers. Sure, when the time calls for it, I will tell it like it is, but most of the time, I like to take an optimistic point of view on things.
There was great concern about the Steelers and how they looked over the first three weeks despite their 2-1 record, and even though I was troubled by such things as the offensive line and the team's recent rash of turnovers, I was still pretty optimistic and confident that Pittsburgh would answer the bell in Houston yesterday and come up with a big performance against the Texans.
Unfortunately, after Sunday's 17-10 loss, I am greatly concerned as a fan.
For starters, I am concerned with how yesterday's game started. It reminded me too much of week one in Baltimore. The Texans took the opening kick-off and marched right down the field on a 19 play, 95 yard drive that took nearly 11 minutes off the clock and culminated with a Matt Schaub to Owen Daniels touchdown pass.
When I woke up Sunday, I wasn't as worried about the team's run defense as most seemed to be. I had convinced myself that giving up just under 100 yards a game on the ground through the first three weeks may not have been up to the defense's recent standards but wasn't much to be concerned about.
However, after Sunday's performance, I'm going to go ahead and allow myself to be concerned with the run defense. The Steelers' front seven was pushed all over the place, and Arian Foster rushed for 155 yards on 30 carries, including the game-winning 42 yard touchdown run.
Speaking of that touchdown run, I'm extremely concerned with how the defense is responding when the team appears to have momentum. Last week, the Steelers took the lead on a defensive touchdown late in the 4th quarter and the defense responded by allowing Curtis Painter to march the Colts down the field and score the game-tying touchdown. Sunday, after the team some how managed to pull itself off the mat and tie the game on a Shaun Suisham field goal early in the 4th quarter, the Texans' offense went right through the Steelers' defense and took the lead for good on the Foster run. I mean, how many times did that happen in '09? You just have to be concerned about that, don't you?
And if you're not concerned about the defense's lack of a pass-rush this season, I'll have what you're drinking. Schaub wasn't sacked one time Sunday and barely even breathed on.
And, absent, once again, was the lack of any real signficant defensive "splash plays."
And where to begin with the offense? Once again, the offensive line looked overmatched. Roethlsiberger was under siege for most of the day and was sacked five times. As for the running game? Eh, it wasn't anything to write home about. 22 carried for 118 yards may not seem too bad, but I know a cohesive and dominant rushing attack when I see one and the Steelers' running game hasn't been cohesive or dominant at all this season.
And just 26 points on offense over the last two weeks is more than a little alarming.
I'm also concerned with the Steelers looking inferior against the two playoff-caliber teams they've faced so far this season. And don't let that 17-10 score fool you. The Texans were, by far, the superior football team. Had it not not been for an illegal contact penalty on what would have been another strip-sack on Roethlisberger, a totally unnecessary block in the back on what should have been an easy touchdown return after a blocked field goal on the last play of the first half, and a roughing the passer penalty after a Roethlisberger pick-six near the end of the game when the team was in desperation-mode, the score of Sunday's game may have been very similar to the 35-7 shellacking in Baltimore.
And if all this stuff wasn't enough to worry about for a fan, I now have to worry about even more injuries. Ben Roethlisberger, James Harrison, Aaron Smith, and Rashard Mendenhall all suffered injuries in the game against the Texans
The Steelers had a great chance to alleviate many of the concerns that this Steeler fan had before the Houston game, but instead of that, I'm afraid they gave me even more to worry about.
I know the other teams get paid, too, but it's been four games, and I have yet to see the 2010 AFC Champions live up to their title so far this season. This might be a rather negative post, but even I have my limits.
What do you think? Am I just overreacting? Please, talk me down. I want to be positive, I really, really do. Give me a reason. I'll take it and run.