The Steelers opened their season Sunday Night in Massachusetts against a team that has largely dominated them since 2001. The (rusty) Men of Steel succumbed in embarrassing fashion to the point that some fans are calling for the team to tank for the No. 1 pick, while others remain optimistic.
BTSC’s resident heels, The Steelers Hangover’s Tony Defeo and Bryan Anthony Davis, have differing viewpoints on this particular subject. Read them as they slug it out in text below.
After just one week, it’s time to panic about the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers
Tony Defeo’s Point
Here we are after just one week, and the optimism couldn’t be lower about the prospects of your 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers. After one game, they sit at 0-1 following a 33-3 drubbing at the hands of the world champion New England Patriots last Sunday night at Gillette Stadium. What, you say? It’s not time to panic? Yeah, of course, you say that, and when I say “you,” I’m talking about the Internet, because it’s after losses such as the one the Steelers suffered Sunday night that I have to be subjected to article after article telling me that it’s not time to do that sort of thing. “Step away from the ledge/bridge!” you may be thinking. “RELAX!” you may be screaming in an all-caps retort. I’m telling you it’s time to push that big, red panic button. And while I may not be suggesting you rush to the nearest ledge/bridge to join me, I do think it may be wise to rush to your nearest social media platform and make some really irrational and illogical proclamations about these Steelers. Something along the lines of “Play for a top draft pick!” or “Wave the white flag instead of the Terrible Towel!” will work just dandy.
So why is it time to panic? Why is it time to admit defeat after just one week of the 2019 regular season?
Did you see how anemic the offense looked the other night with JuJu Smith-Schuster as the number one passing target and Donte Moncrief as the number two receiver, a newcomer who apparently is already number one in Ben Roethlisberger’s heart, considering he threw to him 10 times—or about nine times more than he should have?
In case your memory is fuzzy, Sunday night’s game was the second-straight of consequence without the services of star receiver Antonio Brown dating back to Week 17 of last year. “Thank the Heavens!” you might be proclaiming. Good point. These days, less Antonio Brown is good for everyone. Still, though, it may not be a coincidence that no “AB = no clue” in-terms of an offensive game-plan for your Pittsburgh Steelers.
And what about that “defense” Pittsburgh threw at the Patriots on Sunday? What defense, right? I mean, if Tom Brady was a tornado, Terrell Edmunds was one of those unfortunate barns that never stands a chance in those scary yet fascinating “Destructive Mother Nature”-type videos you always find on YouTube.
Thirty-three points, 465 yards, one sack and zero takeaways (again).
You might say one game is a very small sample-size. I remember the good old days when “sample-size” was a term I really despised. Unfortunately, “low-key,” as in, “I low-key love these new Jets’ uniforms” came to Twitter and threw “sample-size” over the top rope like it was one of the Bushwhackers in the very early stages of an early-90s WWF Royal Rumble main event.
Fine, I’ll give you that about sample size. But you know what isn’t a small sample-size? The Steelers record against playoff teams dating back to Week 2 of 2018: 2-5. That’s “low-key” half a season, right there, my friend. Now, I’m not expecting a 6-1 or 5-2 record, but at least be closer to .500 against some of the league’s elite teams. Shouldn’t a true contender be capable of that? Furthermore, the Steelers overall record dating back to last November 25 is 2-5. Can you say “trending,” as in the Steelers are low-key trending toward mediocrity, or even worse?
You might disagree with me, and while I do respect differing opinions, I must say that anyone who doesn’t share my view on this is TOTALLY WRONG!
Bryan Anthony Davis’ Counterpoint
Tony, I’m not sure just exactly what kind of mushrooms you’ve been ordering on your pizza, but to cite the album title of Weird Al Yankovic’s 1992 blockbuster, you my friend are “Off the Deep End”. If I gave up after my disastrous first attempt at obtaining a driver’s license, I wouldn’t be the auto insurance adjuster’s nightmare that I legally am today. Sure, I’d rather get a prostate exam over watching Donte Moncrief dropping more times than my old T-Mobile plan. Yes, the Steelers should have played at 11:30 on Saturday Night because they weren’t ready for Prime Time. But I’m not ready to scrap the entire season after one disappointment. The Steelers won’t either. I’m not telling you to pre-order a giant sub or start looking for great deals on flights and hotel rooms for February in Miami from Travelocity, Orbitz or the guy you met in the alley behind Arby’s, but give these guys at least a chance to rebound.
This team, under Mike Tomlin, has a history of coming together. In 2016, Jeff Hartman and I were doing our current podcast, “The Hangover” (subscribe and don’t miss a single, thrilling moment), and the Steelers were sitting at 4-5 and seemingly left for dead. But Jeff believed and so did I. Apparently the black-and-gold clad warriors that we vehemently root for did too. They stormed through the remainder of the regular season and found themselves in the AFC Championship Game. The only problem was that it was in Foxborough. Foxborough is Little Big Horn, the Upside Down (Stranger Things) and Spike’s Bedroom from Toy Story all wrapped into one for the Steelers. They can’t win there. But I will still hold out hope that it can happen. The biggest problem I had with the team was the unimaginative game plan and rust not being removed in preseason from starters. Ben Roethlisberger and James Washington need time to gel in actual real time action.
Thanks for bringing out your little stats on the 2018 season, but this isn’t the same team or situation. I know that I’m about to get the if “ifs and buts we’re candy and nuts” reply that you have warming up in the bullpen, but if Xavier Grimble dropped the machismo act instead of the football in Denver, Chris Boswell didn’t have the yips the entire year and the referees recognized a blatant offsides against the Chargers,that team would have been in the playoffs. This is not the “me first,” dysfunctional family that was the 2018 Steelers. This is a team that has great pride in their abilities, their performance, and the city that is their professional home. They know what they are capable of and I bet they’re playing with renewed vigor against Seattle on Sunday.
As fans, we saw this same scenario with opening game debacles against Cleveland in 1989, Jacksonville in 2001, Dallas in 1994, New England in 2002 and 2015. Those teams all posted playoff victories those seasons. Sure...that was then and this is now, but this team needs to make a few tweaks and not dismantle the whole kit and kaboodle. You have a cowboy quarterback with a chip on his shoulder, a talented rusher still running through holes manufactured by a stellar offensive line, an exciting young wide receiver that needs the other young pass-catchers to see more snaps to give him breathing room. You also have an outside linebacker that almost looks every bit as polished and dynamic as his all-world brother and a much faster defense. These guys started slow, but there are still 15 weeks to go. Let’s just keep the fevered excitement that we had all preseason long for at least another week.
By the way, the Bushwhackers? Wow! Nicely played. Next week, I’m looking forward to your reference to the Can-Am Connection. But if we are embarking down the WWE road, I seem to recall the great Daniel Bryan losing his belt to Sheamus in just 18 seconds at Wrestlemania 28 and Bryan is regarded as one of the great ring generals in the business today.
If Fleetwood Mac and Bill Clinton ever taught us anything, we should not stop thinking about tomorrow. It’ll soon be here. Because yesterday’s gone, Tony. Yesterday’s gone.
Bryan won last week’s debate, who will prevail this week? Which writer is on the money? Who is way off base? Sunday’s game will help moderate this debate even more. But now, it’s your chance to chime in below in the comments section and in the poll below.
Do you agree more with Tony Defeo or Bryan Anthony Davis on whether or not it’s time to panic in Pittsburgh?
This poll is closed
TonDef: Its time to panic.
BAD: There’s 15 games left. Give it at least another week.