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The Steelers have nobody to blame but themselves for the negative feedback this week

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The Steelers have received a lot of negative backlash following their 21-point loss to the Jaguars in Week 5. And, guess what? It's nobody's fault but their own.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

It sure is nice to be angry and worked up about Steelers issues that have nothing to do with anthems or protests.

Okay, it's not nice, but it sure is refreshing--and it’s well-founded.

Following the disastrous 30-9 loss to the Jaguars this past Sunday at Heinz Field that dropped them to a rather disappointing 3-2 to start the 2017 campaign, the Steelers have been on the receiving end of quite a bit of negative backlash from the fans.

They've also been the subject of many drama-filled stories by the media.

And when it comes to those troubles, all they need to do is look in the mirror, or as Antonio Brown said after the Jacksonville debacle, point the thumb, not the finger.

When an offense receives preseason acclaim for being perhaps the best in franchise history, complete with a stud-filled offensive line, a franchise passer and weapons galore, people are going to expect the 30 points a game we keep talking about.

But when the offense sputters for five straight weeks and averages under 20, you better believe people are going to wonder what in the blue blazes is going on.

Speaking of that franchise quarterback—one Ben Roethlisberger—when you cryptically hint at retirement shortly after a blowout loss in the AFC Championship game, and then you take more than two months to officially announce you're coming back for 2017, people are going to worry—but ultimately they’ll expect you to be 100-percent committed.

Maybe you are, but when you struggle during the first five games, and it appears that you're not seeing the field properly, the fans and the media are going to present various possible explanations (like, perhaps, you're heart isn't in it).

When you compound matters by speaking to the media after a five-interception performance against the Jaguars (the most picks you've ever thrown in a game), and say, "Maybe I don't have it anymore," you can't blame reporters and fans for taking that quote and running with it.

Maybe you were just being sarcastic. Maybe you were just frustrated. But that quote is on you, it's not on anyone else.

The same holds true for the concerns that you're focusing on Brown a little too much. When you say it to the media during the week, and then—during the game—you frequently go to him on plays where he’s clearly double- and triple-teamed, people can't help but draw conclusions.

As for Brown and his reputation for being selfish and worrying about numbers more than wins—when you follow up a four-catch, 34-yard performance in a 17-point win (a game that was highlighted by your Gatorade cooler-throwing temper tantrum) by posting a video on social media of you and your young kid, and you say, "Tell them to throw daddy the ball," people are going to wonder about your motivation.

Sure, you were professional and said all the right things during the week after a 21-point loss, but was that because you were being a leader or because you were pacified by your 10-catch, 157-yard performance?

Unfair to ask that? Maybe, but it's kind of hard to blame me or anyone else, given the perception.

Moving on to Le'Veon Bell and his rather lackluster start to 2017.

Why does he seem a step slower than last year? Is it because he held out all of training camp?

I don't think so, but many other people do and, until he starts playing better, it's kind of hard to discount that as a theory.

What about Mike Tomlin and his perceived failure to get his teams up for those supposed inferior opponents?

I've always maintained that it's a slightly-unfair criticism, but here we are, five weeks into the 2017 campaign, and Pittsburgh already has lost two games, in each of which the Black-and-gold was a heavy favorite.

What about Tomlin's in-game coaching acumen?

I believe it's quite good (his overall record speaks for itself), but those two challenges on Sunday—especially the one late in the fourth quarter, when Brown practically dribbled the football on a low pass from Roethlisberger—yikes!

Kind of hard to defend you on those, Coach.

How about your ability to control your team? I think those criticisms are mostly hogwash, personally, but when your star running back engages in a Twitter battle with a former player (Ryan Clark), people are going to point to you, even if Bell is doing it on his own time.

Speaking of your star running back, when he openly criticizes the game-plan against Jacksonville and says the offense should have run the football more, it again calls into question just how much control you have, Coach.

"Are the inmates running the asylum?" they'll rhetorically ask.

And what about that game-plan, Todd Haley?

Maybe it was true that the Jaguars' league-worst rushing defense heading into Week 5 was a bit of a misnomer and perhaps a little misleading based on the ebb and flow of their previous four games.

But you could have tried a little harder in the first half, when you only ran it 11 times, to 22 passes in a one-point game.

And you certainly could have handed it to Bell once or twice early in third quarter, on that first-and-goal from the five. Instead, three-straight passes followed by three points on a Chris Boswell field goal.

Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. Maybe I don't understand the X's and O's of football. But I do know that nine points aren't very many—21 below your weekly goal, as a matter of fact.

Finally, that run defense.

Maybe a lot of Jacksonville's 231 rushing yards were picked up in garbage time, after the defense had valiantly fought to keep things close for three quarters, while the offense sputtered away.

But when those 231 yards come two weeks after the 220 your guys yielded to the Bears, Keith Butler, you can't blame folks for being somewhat concerned by your defensive line's gap integrity, and your outside linebackers' ability to hold the edge.

And those runs of 36, 50 and 90 yards? These have occurred over the past three weeks, and the mighty, undefeated Chiefs, your next opponent, are certainly no slouches in the ground game.

So, yes, there's a lot to be angry about these days when it comes to the Steelers. And it's neither your fault nor mine for being angry.

It's not the media's fault for taking stories and running with them—and it's not our fault for doing the same.

There’s nobody to blame for the Steelers problems but the Steelers themselves.

They want to get people off of their backs?

Just win, baby!