Bill Belichik made some waves nationally earlier this season, as he's prone to do, after the Patriots were blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4. Sitting at 2-2, after two resounding defeats against the Dolphins and the Chiefs, Bellichick fielded some uncomfortable questions about the state of the New England Patriots and their future in general.
His response, as Bellichikian as always, was "we're on to Cincinnati". When pressed repeatedly, he again said "we're on to Cincinnati." Then again and again.
The Patriots had started poorly, and things weren't clicking. The message, however, was resounding clearly. The Patriots were moving on, one-game season and all the typical sports talk that goes with it. It worked out well for them as it turns out.
After suffering a humbling defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Saints, one of several this season, the Steelers are at 7-5 with their destiny still in their own hands. Not precisely a tailspin.
The Steelers organization, from head coach down to quality-control coach, from star quarterback down to occasional special-teamer, knows it must follow the Patriots' suit. It's on to Cincinnati.
Yes, the 2014 Steelers have some issues at a macro-level which must be dealt with eventually. This team has undeniable talent and depth deficiencies on defense that I don't expect to vanish any time soon. This team is staggeringly inconsistent in their execution from week to week, even quarter to quarter, and it has been for years now. This team consistently performs poorly against teams with losing records, teams which are often perceived as, and usually are, of poorer quality than themselves. This isn't a fire-everyone rant, these are just the facts.
All of these problems, these huge, daunting problems, have something in common in that none of them can or will be solved within the final four weeks of the 2014 season.
There's nothing to suggest the Steelers aren't capable of winning their next three or four games, indeed they've already beaten equal or better teams during the course of the season. There's no reason why the coaching staff cannot create and install an effective gameplan because there's ample evidence they're capable of doing so. There's no reason to expect Ben Roethlisberger to play poorly, since we and the Colts know exactly what he's capable of. You get the point in all this, it truly is just a one-game season from here on in.
There will come a time for Kevin Colbert to reflect on the state of the 2014 Steelers, to assess what needs to change and what needs to the stay the same. Indeed, someone higher up the food chain may be reflecting on the job Colbert's done and pondering the same.
This is not that time. This is the time for "we're on to Cincinnati."