I had to laugh on Monday when I talked to my mom about the Steelers game. My mom is far from a football expert, but really, you don't have to know proper pad level, a five technique (or is it 5 technique?) or things of that nature to enjoy the sport and recognize talent when you see it.
For all the expert analysis given about the 55-31 debacle in New England on Sunday, from the people on BTSC to the guys at the Post Gazette to the guy delivery chips at the local supermarket, my mom probably summed things up the best:
"That one time, Polamalu actually got Gronkowski down, and to tell you the truth, I don't know how he even did it."
I don't know why, but I just couldn't stop laughing.
You see? It doesn't take much of an expert eye to know that the Steelers are simply lacking in the roster area. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who had his post-surgery/injury 2013 coming out party against Pittsburgh with nine catches for 143 yards and a touchdown as his contribution to the dominance at Foxbourgh, might be a bad example, because, really, who can believe it when anyone tackles Gronkowski? He's the best in the business at what he does.
But I guess that's kind of my point. Who on the Steelers roster really is the best at what he does? Maybe Shaun Suisham, but unlike a Gronkowski, my guess is Pittsburgh's opponents are game-planning with the hopes of actually getting Suisham on the field, because that would mean the Steelers offense is off the field (for the most part in 2013, mission accomplished).
For his elite status (and my ever-present defense of him), it's certainly not Ben Roethlisberger. He might be the victim of circumstance in many ways, but that doesn't take away from his obvious struggles since the San Diego game last December. It's not Antonio Brown. Despite his league leading 61 receptions, and despite the man-love given to him by the likes of Michael Irvin on the NFL Network, Brown isn't A.J. Green or Calvin Johnson in terms of sheer, physical dominance.
I could go on and on (heck, even out of a job in Week 1 Fernando Velasco was rated higher than Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey in 2012, according to some outlets), but the bottom line is I'm just not surprised these days when the Steelers find themselves behind by 14 points in the first quarter like they did on Sunday in New England against a perennial contender......or even a week ago in Oakland against a perennial doormat.
Speaking of which, and speaking of another relative, during the Raiders game in Week 8, my brother kept texting things like, "It's the Raiders. It's the freakin' Raiders!"
And I said, "Yeah, and they're 2-4, just like the Steelers."
Despite his many short-comings as a young and inexperienced quarterback, it was obvious that Terrelle Pryor was head and shoulders above anyone on Pittsburgh's defense in terms of sheer, dominant athleticism during his 93 yard touchdown run to open the game.
Even during the bad 2-6 start to the 2006 season or the five-game losing streak near end end of the 2009 season, I felt that the Steelers matched up quite nicely with their opponents, it was just that they were simply in a bad run of unfortunate bounces and critical mistakes.
But it was natural to feel that way because Troy Polamalu was much younger. Ryan Clark was much younger. Brett Keisel was much younger. James Harrison and James Farrior were both much younger....and still on the roster.
These days, however, it's quite apparent that the Steelers are over-matched against most opponents, in terms of physical dominance and talent-level, and this has resulted in many weeks where they've been bounced up and down the turf of stadiums all across the league.
And thinking the Steelers are anything but a bad football team would be a very critical mistake.
Don't believe me? Just ask my mom. She still can't believe Polamalu tackled Gronkowski even once.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Steelers sign CB DeMarcus Van Dyke
- Antonio Brown was benched at the end of the Steelers' loss to the Patriots
- Steelers injury report: DeCastro, Wheaton to practice fully, Gilbert limited to start week
- Baron Batch continuing with art, hating comparisons to slavery, in post-career life
- Teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Jerricho Cotchery grinding out quality season
- BTSC Week 10 Power Rankings
- The problem with benching players is why there's a problem in the first place