Regardless of who was on the field, who was not playing and who might have gotten 'dinged up' during the Pittsburgh Steelers 43-19 loss to the Buffalo Bills, the defensive performance was horrid. No one knows this more than the players and coaches inside the locker room. Count James Harrison in that group of players who were simply disgusted with the team's performance Saturday in up-state New York.
How disgusted was Harrison? He began to draw comparisons of the Steelers defense to the fast food chain Burger King.
"Today was a horrible performance," Harrison told Dale Lolley of the Washington Observer-Reporter. "It was like Burger King. They were having it their way and we were serving it to them."
I doubt Harrison was looking for a new sponsorship when he made his comment, but it is hard to argue with his sentiment regarding the team's defensive performance when they collectively allowed the Bills to rush for 156 yards on 35 carries and 3 touchdowns, while allowing a combination of EJ Manuel, Matt Cassel, Tyrod Taylor and Matt Simms to complete 30 of 33 passes for 386 yards and three touchdowns. A combined quarterback rating of 142.9.
Mike Tomlin certainly knows how bad the team performed on Saturday, and his post-game comments were a far cry from his usual comments made towards individual players and the messages he conveys to his players.
"Usually, I'll reserve judgment until after we've watched the tape. But it doesn't require a lot of tape study to kind of analyze some of the things that were issues in that performance," said Tomlin, whose team dropped to 1-3 this preseason. "We continue to be slow starters. That's disturbing. We've got to address that. Some of our young guys, who are fighting for jobs, quite frankly, are not executing with enough detail to be in consideration. And that's disappointing.
"As we push through to the end of this, I'd like to see the arrow pointed up and them fighting for jobs. Some of those guys, quite frankly, looked like walking dead. We've got to analyze that and keep those who are committed to fighting. Some of that stuff was quite disturbing, not the kind of performance we're looking for. After a performance like that, you analyze it, not just from a playing standpoint, but a coaching standpoint. I think that's appropriate, and we'll do that."
Whether relating the team's poor defensive showing to a fast-food chain, or walking dead, everyone can agree how poor the performance was for the defense. It is only the preseason, and many will cling to such a fact, but leave it to a defensive leader, Cameron Heyward, to put into words what everyone is thinking Sunday following the loss.
"I would say it was just unacceptable. We understand that there are going to be mistakes, but we've got to get better and not let it happen anymore."
Whether Heyward's words come to fruition, only time will tell, but the next time the Steelers starting defense will step on the field for a meaningless game will be in the season opener against the New England Patriots, just over a week away.