Finally, after waiting for almost the entire season, the Steelers 2015 bye week arrives this Sunday, when they take on no team at no time.
As I just alluded to, Pittsburgh's bye is rather late this year, and I don't know about you, but a late Steelers bye week always seems good in theory, but once it finally arrives......let's just say it feels like the scheduling equivalent of when your favorite team receives the opening kickoff. Sure, you're excited to see if Ben Roethlisberger can lead the offense down the field for a quick touchdown, but what if he doesn't, and then an hour or so later, it's 17-10, their team at halftime, and their team gets the ball to start the third quarter?
That's how a late bye week feels to me.
But, I suppose the bye came at the right time, at least that's what everyone keeps saying in light of the plethora of injuries Pittsburgh has endured so far this year. Although, if you ask me, the perfect time for a bye would have been November 1, because that's when Le'Veon Bell tore his MCL against the Bengals. Had the Steelers been off that day, Bell's MCL would have remained firmly intact, and he would have been healthy enough to perform another one of his strange video selfies and post it on social media.
The Steelers have had way too many injuries this year, including the mid-foot sprain suffered by Roethlisberger against the Raiders on November 8. But if he can perform like he did this past Sunday against the Browns, when he passed for 379 yards and three touchdowns in a rather bizarre relief role filling-in for "starter" Landry Jones, just imagine how well he may do with two full weeks off to not only heal his mid-foot sprain but two more weeks to mend his left MCL, an injury that surely can't be fully healed just six weeks after it happened.
The great thing about this year's Steelers' bye week is it allows one time to reflect on the first 10 games of the season and how will the team is doing, relative to the number of issues it's faced.
For example, 6-4 with all those injuries and suspensions? Are you sure you want to complain about Mike Tomlin much anymore?
The defense already has 18 takeaways after averaging just 19 a season, dating back to 2011? The defense has 27 sacks after averaging just 35 over the past four years? The secondary might have some issues, but that front-seven looks like it may be a force most teams won't want to reckon with in the very near-future.
With Martavis Bryant looking as dominant as he has since, well, the time he started playing NFL football, one wonders how anyone can possibly stop the Steelers passing attack down-the-stretch, now that Antonio Brown has regained his mojo and Roethlisberger has probably filled his 2015 quota for cart trips to the locker room. Unfortunately, because of the suspensions and injuries it has endured this year, the offense probably won't wind-up being the best in franchise history like everyone predicted in the offseason, but if it can play at that hyped-up level over the final six weeks, it could make for an awesome finish with scoreboards lighting-up from Seattle to Cleveland.
Speaking of scoreboards, the one at Heinz Field will only be active two more times over the final six weeks. That once seemed like a nail in the coffin-type scenario as it pertained to Pittsburgh's postseason chances, thanks to a .500 first half and a tough (on paper) second half. But now that the Seahawks, Colts, Broncos and even the Bengals don't look so tough these days, a 4-2 finish doesn't seem so impossible, which would mean 10-6 and probably a fifth seed in the AFC playoffs. Sadly, unless the Bengals turn into the Bungals down-the-stretch, there won't be any home games and byes in early January........but there is that bye at the end of January that's always an enjoyable break from football when your team has one more game to play--and that game (you know which one I mean) is always a de facto home game when the Steelers are involved.
The last part of that paragraph seemed rather sensational in nature, but, hey, November is sweeps month, where networks and local news affiliates try desperately to win the ratings war. With me, a writer, having so much time on my hands between now and the Steelers next game on November 29 and with me wanting to lure you in with the dreaded click-bait, who knows what I'll come up with to get you, the viewer, to click on my articles. I have plenty of ideas in my head, complete with angst-inducing titles.
Landry Jones SHOULD NOT lose his starting job to injury
Is watching the Steelers harmful to your child's health?
Is the Bengals standard the new standard?
And, last but not least, the one title that I know will get you, the reader, clicking like mad and furious as heck:
The Pittsburgh Steelers MUST draft a cornerback in 2016
Maybe bye weeks are fun after all.