No need to panic about last night's loss, Steeler fans. For one thing, Jacksonville just played great football. They matched Pittsburgh's physicality, while managing a beautiful bend-but-don't-break scheme that kept Pittsburgh far away from any kind of big play. It was a successful strategy, and you just have to tip your hat to them for the win.
The defense was pretty solid for the most part - 9 points isn't an embarrassing output to allow on any day. I was impressed with almost everyone's play. Again, the Jaguars just deserve credit for never letting the Steeler defense make a big play.
The real key, of course, is Roethlisberger, and he was clearly dusting out the cobwebs. He made some terrific plays, and showed signs of why he can be such an effective quarterback in this league. But he was also rusty - no two ways about it. Several throws were uncharacteristically well off mark. He'll get better (and healthier), so let's not do anything rash and throw him under the bus.
The one player I was disappointed in a bit was Santonio Holmes, who wasn't running great routes last night. He's a rookie, and I'm certain Whis and crew will coach him out of many of his mistakes, but he's not quite there yet. He's shown flashes of his potential, and the Steelers definitely -want- to use him, but he absolutely must be more consistent if that's going to be a realistic option.
It's hard to swallow a loss when you haven't felt the sting of defeat in a long time, but we mustn't overreact to a single loss, to a good team, on the road. We were outplayed last night, and they deserve the credit.