Week 5 is rapidly approaching, and the Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves in an interesting situation. Through Week 3, Pittsburgh - along with New England and Indianapolis, and to some extent Green Bay - was the toast of the League. The Steelers had returned to Super Bowl form; Mike Tomlin could do no wrong; and Big Ben had long since made his 2006 calamity a distant memory. Right? Not so fast.
The Steelers returned to Earth this past Sunday, and in doing so, set themselves up for a critical home contest against the Seattle Seahawks heading into their BYE Week. Win, and we're 4-1 and have a couple weeks to rest some bodies. Lose? Face the prospect of falling below .500 after we travel to Denver and Cincinnati.
But that's getting waaay ahead of ourselves. I'm more interested in seeing how we improve upon our weaknesses this week at Heinz, where we always seem to play a little bit harder and more disciplined.
Can our offensive line - all of them - do a better job controlling the line of scrimmage against a Seahawks D that is feeling pretty good about themselves? Can Ben please not make any piss-poor decisions in the Red Zone? Will Casey Hampton come back from his hamstring pull and shut down Shaun Alexander? (Even though we mainained our streak of holding opposing RBs under 100 yards, I thought Edgerrin James was pretty damn effective against us.) What about special teams. Hopefully that's the last time we give up 6 points on special teams. And above all else, will we be the meaner, tougher team throwing the first punch, or will we be reacting and counter-punching like we were during the second half of last week's loss in Arizona.
Just a few things to think about as we get into looking at the Seahawks and the challenge they present for the Steelers this weekend.