What a bad football weekend in Pittsburgh.
The best part of the Pitt game was when Erin asked why a player wearing a mouth guard was sucking on a binky, and the best part of the Steelers game was the flood in my basement that delayed the misery of watching the Steelers blow a 14-point lead to the Cleveland Browns.
I suppose there are worse ways to begin a season, but the Steelers are supposed to be Super Bowl contenders.
I also know it is only one game, but the NFL is merciless and, as we all saw last year with the awful loss in Chicago, a bad outcome in any game can alter when and where a playoff team plays.
So a tie in Cleveland cannot be dismissed as, “well, it’s only one game.”
Clearly, the Steelers deserved to lose the game. Clearly, the middle of the defense remains an issue. Vince Williams was given a very nice chunk of Le’Veon Bell’s money and he was ineffective at best. Jon Bostic was okay, but just okay. Bud DuPree was better, but the Browns offensive line is, well, offensive.
James Conner was a bright spot despite a badly-timed fumble, but Big Ben looked clumsy and immature. The revamped Steelers’ offense looked very much like last season’s Steelers’ offense, minus the caddy glances between Ben and Coach Todd.
Despite six turnovers – six – the Steelers were still ahead by two touchdowns with under eight minutes to play. That has to become a win no matter what. Not just in Cleveland, either, but anywhere.
Now the Steelers have to play from behind in the division and in the conference as both Cincinnati and Baltimore won, as did Jacksonville, New England and Kansas City. The Chiefs are next Sunday’s opponent and the Steelers need to right their ship sooner than later or they will find themselves in early trouble in the AFC.
- Is .500 important? I have heard the argument that it is. That finishing .500 or above is a step forward for the Pirates. I wonder whether or not that is true. A .500 record might feel good – it is not a losing record and signals improvement, but .500, or a few games above or below, is really a dangerous place to live in Major League Baseball. Optimists will argue that .500 means the Buccos are a player or two away from contending. Get a reliable bat and a solid starter, and watch this team take off. Pessimists will argue that .500 means the type of change that needs to happen will not, that the roster revamp will not occur, and that the Pirates will continue to bob above and below water for a very long time without accomplishing anything that matters.
- While Iron Mike Ditka, Tony Dorsett and Dan Marino are household names and the most recognizable of Pitt’s inaugural Hall of Fame inductees, the university should be applauded for including Lisa Shirk, Pitt’s only NCAA champion gymnast, Kathy Stetler, a 1978 NCAA champion swimmer, and track and field stars Herb Douglas, Roger Kingdom and Trecia Kaye-Smith. Pitt’s diverse class is representative of a long history of individual athletic greatness and a Pitt Hall of Fame is long overdue, so kudos to athletic director Heather Lyke for making it happen.