When the bright spot in an otherwise dark game is your punter -- as Mike Tomlin pointed out in his Tuesday presser -- you know you had a bad weekend. When you are replacing your starting right tackle for the second consecutive year, things aren't exactly going your way.
But that's football. Sometimes the ball jumps into your hands, and sometimes it bounces off your facemask into the waiting arms of your opponent.
Then there are times when the ball does everything it can to avoid you altogether.
Now that I have taken my lumps for an ill-advised rant on class, and have been humbled by so many of your excellent points on why the Ravens were smart to continue pushing for points -- especially in a division where they know the race for the crown is likely to come down to tie-breakers -- I am ready to move on, and I'm sure our Steelers are too.
Week two brings a new opponent and a new chance at victory. Scores are reset to zero, and the gameplan changes. If there was a way to pretend Sunday never happened, we would all be happy, but there would be a lot of lessons lost, too.
But how do you move forward from the kind of beat-down we witnessed Sunday, at the hands of their arch-rival, no less? As fans, it pains us, and the only vested interest we have in the games is emotional. We aren't being paid to play, coach or train. We aren't owners of the team. Heck, a lot of us live hundreds -- if not thousands -- of miles from the city. We are detached, and yet for many of us the week was ruined before it ever really got started.
Perhaps it was fate that our team would be so thoroughly humbled on September 11th, 2011, ten years to the day after Flight 93 crashed in a field just five miles from my childhood home. Perhaps it was God's way of reminding us that it's not about us, especially not on that one day.
Or, perhaps, it was simply that on Sunday, we were not the better team. It's a far more likely conclusion, at any rate. If you watched even a single quarter, that was evident.
It was little things, really. As Tomlin said in his press conference, " ... there's a fine line between drinking wine and squashing grapes ... " Those on top drink the wine; all others make it for them.
Right about now, I'd like to make a comment tying "grape squashers" to the Ravens' purple home jerseys, but I will refrain. It wouldn't look too good a day after making such a big, stupid deal out of being classy.
If I was to go into all that went wrong Sunday, we'd be here until the next meeting between the two teams. Besides, I covered a good deal of that yesterday. The worst part was that the bad kept right on coming a day later.
I think the Steelers need to rename the Injured - Reserve roster classification to the Colon-Sepulveda Memorial Preservation Tank. After all, by the end of 2011 they will have both spent multiple seasons there. This time, of course, it's Colon, who had surgery Monday to repair a torn triceps. Aaron Smith can commiserate with him on that one. Clearly the trenches are hard on your arms and shoulders. Who knew?
At about noon yesterday, Flozell Adams had to be laughing as the Steelers attempted to come crawling back to him, begging him to take over the right tackle position for the second consecutive season. But right about now, he's standing in his kitchen, staring at a wall with a cup of coffee in his hand, wondering why he didn't just take the veteran minimum. After all, even minimum wage is better than no wage at all. Ask Terrell Owens. Or Randy Moss. Or a hundred other prima donas who are sulking on their couches right now and ignoring their creditors' calls while their former teammates are on the practice fields preparing for another week of war.
Next time, Hotel, take the money. Take the money.
And who doesn't feel sorry for Max Starks at this point? Apparently, the Steelers didn't even look up his number in the rolodex.
Instead, they signed Jamon Meredith. Asking "whodat?" isn't even fitting at this point. Apparently line coach Sean Kugler is familiar with him, as he coached the player in Buffalo in 2009. And he does have starting experience at right guard. But considering that, 10 days ago, Bryant "Mount" McKinney was unemployed, and then proceeded to mostly nullify the Great Deebo at the line of scrimmage Sunday has got to be annoying a lot of people within and without the Steelers' organization.
The only really curious thing about the plan going into week two is that there were no other moves made on the offensive line. I get the concept of continuity, but after how absolutely poorly the team played at left tackle and at right guard, one would think something was going to happen. Maybe it's a hesitancy to change too much too quick, but I think I would experiment now -- i.e., early in the season, against an opponent for whom Las Vegas cares so little that they are a 14-point underdog to a team that just got beat by 28 points.
If you're gonna muck with chemistry, right now is the time.
I would have preferred seeing Jonathan Scott switched from left to right tackle, where his size and relative lack of mobility suits him better, with Marcus Gilbert dropping into the left tackle spot where he played so well at Florida that center Markice Pouncey all but begged the front office to draft him.
I'm sure there are also people in Pittsburgh calling for Ben Roethlisberger's head after contributing in some way to six of the team's seven turnovers, but they were calling for it last year, too. This city is hard on quarterbacks. Ask Terry Bradshaw -- just make sure you have a week or two free on your calendar before you do.
I also think James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley need to switch sides until Harrison is healthy again, and we need to see youngsters Ziggy Hood and Cam Heyward spending more time on the field on the defensive line. The pass rush was dreadful Sunday, and some fresh legs and healthier bodies at key positions might go a long way toward fixing that.
Hey, it's not like it could get much worse.