The Pittsburgh Steelers are 0-3. It's the first time they've been 0-3 since 2000. I knew this season was going to be bad, but I honestly had no idea it'd be this bad. Let's just say the Steelers are not the ones who knock.
This week, they were the only team in the AFC North to lose. They're the only winless team in the AFC North. After these last few displays of mediocrity from the Steelers, preseason included, it really wasn't all that shocking that they weren't able to pull it together and defy all the odds, even with a surge of momentum during the last half of the game. They finally looked like their old selves for those few precious minutes, with the offense and defense seemingly finally figuring it out at last, and that tiny ray of hope was more frustrating than anything after enduring three straight losses so far.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for over 400 yards (he went 26 of 41 for 406) yet still couldn't put together that old magic to win the game. Turnovers (there were five) put the nail in the coffin of this shit show. While, on the other hand, the Steelers haven't been able to create any of their own. Usually this isn't the equation to a winning season. The Chicago Bears were able to score twice off of defensive turnovers: Major Wright from the Bears got a TD after an interception in the second quarter, and Julius Peppers scooped up Ben's fumble, going 42 yards for 6 points, to pretty much kill any hope for a comeback in the fourth quarter. Roethlisberger's second interception, which took place very late in the game, was the Steelers' ninth turnover in three games. WTF.
Gotta give props to the Bears, who were up 24-3 at one point, but then the Steelers were able to catch up to make the score 27-23. Granted, with all the turnovers, the Steelers did manage to make it pretty easy for them. Still, the Bears and QB Jay Cutler (he went 20 of 30 for 159 yards, 1 TD, and most importantly, no interceptions) never lost their composure. Cutler was able to convert two third downs during a fourth-quarter touchdown drive, which culminated with a 17-yard pass to receiver Earl Bennett, and silenced the Steelers' momentum.
Chicago was leading 17-3 midway through the second quarter when Roethlisberger threw that pick to Wright, and it seemed there was no way to erase a 21-point lead, especially because the Steelers were playing like they have during the first two games -- sleepwalking. But for whatever reason, that interception gave the Steelers a little bit of spark, and they responded with a drive that ended with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown with 6:35 left in the half. But, whoops, Wright yet again was able to strip the ball from running back Felix Jones and the Bears were able to increase their lead to 27-10. But then the Steelers drove down the field for a field goal and another 21-yard TD pass to Brown during the third quarter, and that was the most life we've seen from the Steelers all damn season. It was like the clouds had parted and everything seemed right in the universe again. But obviously they weren't able to keep it up and lost spectacularly in the end.
Sadly all this also cancelled out Antonio Brown's huge game, racking up 9 receptions for 196 yards. But there is simply no way a team can win when they commit five turnovers while the other commits zero. After that stunning comeback (come on, talking about THIS Steelers team and THIS unproductive offense, rallying from a 21-point deficit is a pretty huge feat), the offense and defense went back to their old, sloppy ways in the last 10 minutes of the game. Not even the return of tight end Heath Miller could save this one.
What the hell is it going to take? I know a lot of you are demanding Todd Haley's and Mike Tomlin's head. But this seems to be a problem with the entire team and organization, fundamental to their core. What they had once built their identity and championships on -- a strong running game and tough defense -- is no longer a factor, and it's scary what the Steelers have become. Of course, Roethlisberger's style of holding on to the ball too long leads to either amazing plays or game-changing turnovers. And with the offensive line missing Maurkice Pouncey, and the running game missing an effective back, it's been up to Ben, and he hasn't been able to answer the call so far.
Let's just hope at this point the Steelers can figure it out and get away with a 9-7 record or something like that. It's probably best to huddle in a corner with an Iron City beer and count those Super Bowl trophies though at the moment.
Now the Steelers are heading to jolly old England next week to take on the Minnesota Vikings, who are also 0-3, haha. I'm sure the NFL was not expecting that. Anyway, maybe the Steelers will have better luck in an entirely different country with an equally loserly team. Who knows. Either way, there were some definite improvements this week in comparison to the last two -- but the bottom line is we're still 0-3. With preseason, the Steelers haven't managed to win a game all year (I know, I know, it's preseason, but watching all this losing is getting a bit exhausting!). And it's getting old, and my liver hates me. It can't get much worse than this, can it?