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10 Things I think I thought after the Ravens dismantled the Steelers on Sunday night

Trying to wrap my head around the ugly performance at Heinz Field on Sunday Night Football.

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The only thing worse than eating crow is crow eating you. Not only is it unpleasant, but it means you’re dead.

  1. Which brings me to my first thought — is this the end? I complained after the loss to the Chiefs how it seems the Steelers think their reputation is enough to win. Now I wonder if it was enough to make me think they could win. The Steelers lost this game because they are not very good. The vaunted O-line wasn’t very good. James Conner, Bell 2.0 wasn’t very good. Antonio Brown wasn’t very good. Big Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t very good. Weirdly, the defense wasn’t half bad. The window might have closed, friends.
  2. When Mike Tomlin walks out of the locker room to start the second half, he might as well just surrender a time-out and his challenge flag — it would save us all a lot of time.
  3. I believe it’s possible the apparent disconnect between AB’s brand and reality may have something to do with his lackluster start this year. Whether it makes any difference on the field or not, though, I pray the man can straighten out his personal life, for his sake and the sake of his kids.
  4. Bud Dupree had another nice game. For that I’m glad. I’d much rather have him prove his naysayers wrong, even if I’ve been one of them, than prove them right.
  5. “Next man up” is an incoherent myth. If the next man up were as good as the man he replaced, he would have replaced him already. The Steelers are without two of their brightest stars this year, one on either side of the ball. I don’t blame the front office for not fixing either problem. You don’t just run down to your corner “Ryan Shazier” store and pick up another one. And if Bell were ten times better than he already is, it still doesn’t mean the team could afford him. We’re fools if we think the Steelers are the same team without those two men. And, apropos thought No. 1, neither one is likely to come back.
  6. Next thought up? Next man up is an incoherent myth, on the sidelines as well. I don’t doubt that Todd Haley has personality issues. I don’t doubt that he and Ben had their struggles getting along. I do doubt that “Big Ben likes me” is a sufficient resume for an offensive coordinator in the NFL.
  7. It seems to me like both Haley and Fichtner think the way to keep a defense off balance is to run in passing situations, and to pass in running situations. Surprise! It doesn’t work. I miss Mike Mularkey, who understood, like a martial arts expert, how to use your enemy’s strengths against him. Misdirection was his game. And it was fun to watch.
  8. Even when the Steelers let me down, my beautiful wife keeps me going. She is the best.
  9. “A bad day at the office?” That’s Ben’s assessment? A bad day at the office is when the copy machine breaks and you have to meet with that annoying salesman. What happened at Heinz field was your biggest competitor coming to your office, eating your lunch then unleashing the SEC, the FBI and the Treasury Department hounds.
  10. If the Steelers lose to the Falcons, they’ll be 1-3-1, just a half game better than the Steelers were five games into the 1976 season, which might have been the best Steelers team ever. That group went on to win nine in a row, including three of which were shutouts. Were it not for the injury bug biting Franco and Rocky before the AFC Championship game against Oakland, the Steelers might have won a third in a row. Don’t stop believing.