Following the Pittsburgh Steelers the past few weeks have been an eye opening experience. Despite a win against a legitimate Super Bowl contender in the Buffalo Bills in Week 1, the Steelers are far from being a good, or even an average team. The offense has been hard to watch the past two weeks, and for a half against the Bills, the defense is riddled with injuries, and the coaching staff looks like a defeated group in interviews despite the face they put on when talking to the media. Watching other games after the Steelers loss to the Bengals and you may question whether or not the Steelers are playing the same sport.
When you look at other teams that are genuinely considered ‘bad’ right now, you’ll find teams like the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans that are playing competitive and inspired football. As for the Steelers, they just look like a sad team going through the motions. They are underachieving, and if they can't get out of this funk have a real shot of slipping to the bottom of the league’s standings.
But maybe that is just what this team is.
Let’s just look at what they are right now: a talented but beat up defense, a good receiving group that hasn't shown explosive playing making, but maybe they can show it in a better system/with a better quarterback, an explosive running back that is getting beat up before the line of scrimmage, a bad offensive line in both the run and the pass, and a quarterback that has fallen off. There are ways for most of these groups to get better, but without a competent offensive line and a quarterback that just isn't delivering anymore means the rest other offensive players won't be able to grow. The defense will also struggle more and more because of this when they are constantly put on the field when the offense goes three and out.
Of course there are 14 games left in the 2021 season, still tons of football to be played, but the problem is the Steelers already look like a defeated group. Getting out of a funk like that is not easy. However, with a tough schedule of games on the horizon it is possible the Steelers fall deeper and deeper into the mindset of losing. For the first time since 2003, and for the first time since Mike Tomlin took over the Steelers, the team is facing a losing record and simply looking like a bad football team. The question now becomes how bad will they be, and how low they could end up picking in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Sitting in last place of the AFC North could be a theme for this year’s team, losing to the former basement dwellers, the Cincinnati Bengals, of the division, at home, set themselves up for failure. Right now you couldn’t bet on the Steelers to beat any of the other teams in the division, let alone beat them in the other team’s buildings.
From here the Steelers need to battle and win ugly games. They need to chew the clock, and play great defense. This team isn't built to win high scoring affairs, and will need to keep every game below the 20 point line if they want a chance at victory. Without a good offensive line this will be a lot easier said than done, and in today’s high powered offensive era, limiting opponents’ scoring won't be easy either. The Steelers will need to break all the rules of modern football to be a successful team this year, and it will be far from easy. Maybe we just need to face it, the Steelers are a bad team, and we will have to sit through a tough year. Hopefully, the organization can get back on the right track sooner rather than later.
But what do you think? Are you starting to admit the Pittsburgh Steelers are a bad football team? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.