The Patriots pulverized Pittsburgh. The Steelers gave up more points and more yards in team history and are now 2-6. Yet before we can embark on the back 8 games of what has been a very unlucky '13 season, we still must resolve these 5 Burning Questions confronting Steelers Nation.
1. Everyone's focusing on the slow start and the 4th quarter immolation. But what happened in the 3rd quarter? The Steelers defense was stopping the Patriots, making plays on special teams, and even providing Ben Roethlisberger with good protection.
Was this bust of competitiveness simply a mirage, a byproduct of the law of averages or might the Steelers have "put something on tape" that they can build on?
2. Naturally, when you give up 55 points and 600 yards, people are going to being looking at the defensive coaches. However, John Steigerwald made this observation:
When a defensive scheme works as well as LeBeau's has worked for so long and suddenly it stinks, seems like you oughta blame the players.— John Steigerwald (@Steigerworld) November 4, 2013
Where do you come down? Is it LeBeau's system, his players, or as Neal Coolong has suggested, a refusal to adjust system to the talent available?
3. The Patriot's debacle also brought this:
Ben on staying in all game: "They would have had to drag me off. I'm not going to quit. I'm going to stay out there and fight to the end."— Mike Prisuta (@DVEMike) November 4, 2013
Ben's attitude is understandable, but do you agree with Tomlin's decision to allow Ben to stay in a winless game while taking additional punishment.
4. Early in the year, the word was that Dick LeBeau was asking his defensive lineman to adjust their assignments to improve their ability to rush the passer. Have you seen any signs that this has been successful? And regardless, is this the source of the Steelers new-found vulnerability to the run?
5. Mike Tomlin declined to make changes in the wake of the loss. Given the options available to him, what roster/lineup changes would you have made?
There you go folks, have at it!