Third Thoughts on Steelers @ Colts
By Ivan Cole
Does this mean that the team should be banned from going to Dave and Busters?
I would be shocked, absolutely shocked if someone in Steeler Nation wasn’t pursuing that line of thinking. Some are rightfully concerned, perhaps outright annoyed that we come to a Steelers game looking for thrills and get thrills and chills instead.
Here’s a handful of observations, quickly rendered on a short week.
- As Homer made clear in his review, the NFL doesn’t grade on a style curve. Pittsburgh’s record is 7-2, not 6.5-2 or 7-2*. An ugly win is still better than a beautiful, well played loss. Despite the fumbling and bumbling they remain, on paper at least, the class of the conference.
- Being more specific, something akin to a total collapse would be necessary to not make the playoffs, and similar is probably true about winning the division. And there are still two months before this team needs to play its best ball. In the meantime, to quote the late Raiders owner, Al Davis, just win baby.
- Taking a long view, one more win and Mike Tomlin will be 11-0 in the category of non-losing seasons. He is also closing in on his 8th playoff appearance and 6th division title of his tenure. Of course, he should be fired.
- Snowflake update: Homer also pointed out that where we were viewing the game during the sequence where there was a Ryan Shazier interception, a touchdown pass to Vance McDonald and a success conversion featuring Martavis Bryant, it was difficult to determine whether we were in a group of Steelers or Colts fans with all the moaning, hair pulling and such.
- First Bye week myth challenged: The team coming out of the Bye has the advantage. If going into the Bye the team is hurting, or trending badly it may be true. However, the question being raised now is whether the opposite may be true as well. Can positive rhythm and momentum be interrupted?
- Second myth. It’s important for getting healthy. This is assuming you had injury problems, which was minimal heading into the off week. Now we have issues. But before you declare our luck has run out think again. Getting Joe Haden was an unexpected bonus that allowed us to view veteran free agent acquisition Coty Sensabaugh, and draft pick Cameron Sutton as superfluous. And if that isn’t enough, current reports indicate that Haden’s broken leg is a good broken leg in that it seems that the worse-case scenario is that he can return in time for the playoffs.
- Now, if you want to worry about injuries turn your attention to the weekly Thursday night Maul-Fest that the Steelers must endure with the Titans. Escaping with both a W and a relatively clean bill of health would amount to two wins as I reckon things.
- In the midst of it all, there were many good things about this game: JuJu continues his outstanding play, and Martavis made some high-quality contributions. James Connor has a phenomenal rushing average. Though inconsistent at times, Ben Roethlisberger still has command of winning skills and leadership.
- The silver lining with the special teams breakdowns, particularly the blocked kicks, is the hustle of our tight ends, this time Jesse James (with a nod to Jordan Berry as well). Yes, there were two big negative splash plays, missed tackles and other self-inflicted wounds, but the positive trajectory of the defense is unmistakable. Imagine what it means that losing a quality talent like Haden is nowhere near the end of the world for this secondary.
- We now know who to fear over the remainder of the season. Not anyone in the division. Not even the Patriots. If this team goes down it will be because of those pesky Pittsburgh Steelers. Those guys have got their own number.