At least it was the Patriots.
At least it was Tom Brady.
At least it was on the road and a game they were supposed to lose.
In the end, the Steelers’ opening week loss to New England was wholly expected, but the level of domination by the Patriots was downright disturbing.
So was the play calling.
So was the secondary.
So was the game plan.
B-T dubs, post-game comments like Mike Tomlin’s are terrifying and annoying. Two in particular: “We were not ready for prime-time,” and, “Not a good enough plan. Not a good enough execution of that plan.”
The first quote is terrifying because what else was there to to prepare for except prime time? Every day of the preseason should have been spent preparing for the opener because the opener was against the defending Super Bowl champions, not the Miami Dolphins or Washington Redskins. The fact that Tomlin admitted his team was not ready for the game is damning indeed.
The second quote begs the question: which is it, coach? Was it a flawed plan, or was it a poorly executed plan? My guess is that it was a flawed plan because, even when the Steelers’ defense was having some early success, the Patriots were building a 10-0 lead. A flawed offensive game plan for sure because the Steelers lacked any semblance of an attack, and instead looked confused and predictable.
Tomlin-era Steelers teams typically rebound well from poor performances, so there is hope that this performance will not repeat itself in Sunday’s home opener against Seattle, but if the Steelers cannot generate a pass rush, their secondary will hemorrhage yards and surrender points, and that could derail everything that was potentially promising about the 2019 season.
As far as the Patriots are concerned, the Steelers were going to lose the opener in New England. There was no doubt. They are not in New England’s league on the sidelines or in the coaches’ box, and that translates to the field. Until the men in the headsets elevate themselves to elite game planners, play callers and adjusters, the Steelers will always be a groomsman to the Patriots.
- What is Randy Fichtner doing? The Steelers’ short-yardage play calling is a joke. What happened to relying on the strength of the team – a veteran and talented offensive line – when the situation is third and short? The Steelers’ play calling was bad all night, but the short yardage play calling was simply atrocious.
- I thought the biggest step in development a player takes is between his first and second seasons? Terrell Edmunds looked lost against the Patriots. He was out of position, late to the party and ineffective in coverage all night. The Patriots established a blueprint for attacking the deep middle of the Steelers’ defense. Edmunds has to be better or the Steelers are in trouble.
- Pitt – man, where to begin? Did they take a step forward in beating a good MAC team? I don’t know. I don’t know how impressive it is to beat Ohio U, 20-10, in front of about 20,000 people (I know 42,000-plus were announced, but the place looked way less than half filled). I do know this – the Panthers are in all kinds of trouble at Happy Valley unless they have solved some major deficiencies.
Is there a positive musing? After all, Erin will be salty with me if my entire column is negative, so . . .
. . . uhm . . .
. . . well, uhm, oh yeah – the Penguins start training camp this Friday! That’s positive, right?