per·spec·tive – The relationship of aspects of a subject to each other and to a whole.
Many of you are still trying to digest the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-14 loss Sunday to Cleveland Browns as it certainly did not go down good. It dropped the team to 6-5 on the season and despair has now set in on a good portion of the fan base. I am here to tell you that you need to put the last two and a half games in perspective.
The loss of a starting quarterback to a team is often times brutal, especially one the caliber of Ben Roethlisberger. This is a quarterback driven league and the offense of Todd Haley revolves around the play of the man under center. Two and a half games certainly feels like two and a half months right now, but he will be back. If not this week, then certainly next.
Also missing from the lineup the last two games has been wide receiver Antonio Brown, who looks to be on schedule to return this Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. While the Steelers still had Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders the last two games, the absence of Brown has been extremely noticeable. The three together on the field at the same time compliment each other as each bring different qualities to the table.
I wish I had a good explanation as to why the running back fumblepalooza took place in Cleveland on Sunday, but I don\’t. I don\’t think the running backs or the coaching staff have a good one yet either. Were the running backs simply trying to do much? Was it sloppy technique? Was it lack of focus? Let\’s go ahead and say yes to all three of those questions and let\’s call it an abnormality for now.
Since the loss to the Tennessee Titans the offensive line has played well for the most part. There will be a change now at right tackle thanks to Mike Adams going down against the Browns with an ankle injury, so either Ramon Foster will have to slide over a spot or rookie Kelvin Beachum will have to get a full blown baptism by fire. On Monday we learned that rookie David DeCastro is ready to go and that is certainly not a bad thing. Willie Colon, who missed the Browns game with a knee injury, should also be back on Sunday as well. This unit should be fine.
In short, things should be getting back to a normal state for the offense either this week or next.
Lost in all of the doom and gloom of the last two weeks is the play of the Steelers defense. Sure, they gave up 20 points to the Browns on Sunday, but 17 of those points were off of turnovers. Since the loss to the Titans the defense has allowed 88 points in 6 games with 36 of the points coming off of turnovers. That same defense has also only allowed a 23% conversion rate on third downs over the course of those same 6 games and no team has passed for over 177 yards in those 6 games as well.
Did I mention that they have accomplished all of this without safety Troy Polamalu in the lineup?
James Harrison is starting to look more like James Harrison, while Keenan Lewis and Ryan Clark are both playing like Pro Bowlers.
Sure, you we would like to see more turnovers, but the primary objective is to keep the opposing offense from scoring and they certainly have done well at that.
As this Steelers team heads into a very important December they will have a chance of winning every game that Roethlisberger is under center for should the defense continue to play the way it has the last 6 games, and there is no evidence to suggest that they can\’t. Perhaps we will even be treated to a Polamalu sighting as well by Christmas.
As bad as things have been the last two weeks the Steelers had a chance to win both of those games. Almost winning is better known as losing, though, but losing faith in this Steelers team based on the last two games is something that no fan should be doing when you put everything into perspective.
Sure, the Steelers might not win the AFC North crown this year, but if healthy come playoff time, this is a team that shouldn\’t be counted out as being able to make a run towards another championship.
Perspective, people, perspective.