photo via Steelers.com
By Hombre de Acero
The Pittsburgh’s 2017 home opener saw the Steelers dismantle the Vikings to the tune of 26-9. Yet despite the 2-0 record, much of Steelers Nation is wanting more, particularly from the offense. This week’s opponent brings the men in Black and Gold to Chicago, where they’ve only won once in 13 tries.
But before we can see whether the Steelers can improve on their fortunes in the Windy City, this corner of Steelers Nation must resolve these 5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers.
1. You could argue the point, but the Steelers post-Super Bowl XLV rebuilding effort hit rock bottom on September 29th in London against the Minnesota Vikings in a loss that dropped them to 0-4.
In looking at all that’s happened since then, the changes on both sides of the ball appear to be mirror images of each other.
There were only three or four of the starters on offense from that dreadful day in London at Heinz Field last Sunday, while only 3 players on defense from the ’13 team remained for Sunday’s “Rematch.”
Which changes do you feel have made the most impact in altering the trajectory of the team between then, now and looking forward to the future?
2. When T.J. Watt went out, Anthony Chickillo stayed in while James Harrison sat on the bench. Mike Tomlin explained the move by wishing to stay with a “hot hand.” What do you think of this decision and do you think it is appropriate to read anything into it?
3. FOX’s commentating team pointed out that Antonio Brown has never had a 100 yard game against a Mike Zimmer-coached defense, a period which covers Steelers offenses of varying potencies.
Again against the Vikings, Antonio Brown was held below the century mark.
What’s going on?
4. Danny Smith has taken a lot of heat in recent years, some of it fair and some of it unfair. In the first two weeks of the season, his special teams have come up with big plays in the form of a blocked punt and a successful stop of a fake punt attempt.
Yet against the Vikings the penalties cost the special teams a shot at a 2 point conversion and turned a field goal situation into a punt (which Danny Smith’s teams downed at the one – something we’ve not seen a lot of.)
So, with 1/8th of the season complete, is your Steelers Special Teams cup half full or half empty?
5. As Homer observed in his game analysis of the Vikings win:
“We are so damned spoiled that the Steelers can win by 17 points against a very good team with one of the best defenses in the game, and we still carp and moan like the worst bunch of yinzers.”
While yours truly agrees with Homer’s criticism of the much of the fan base, the Steelers offense has seemed to be stuck in a low gear, given the talent (and salary cap space) the team has invested in it.
What type of effort against Chicago will be necessary to stop the carping?
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