By Jeremy Hritz
0-3? Yeah, it’s not a mistake. And it is very hard to believe.
Rather than expecting these Pittsburgh Steelers to elevate their game and to play at a high level, maybe it’s time to lessen expectations and to expect what has become the standard since Ben Roethlisberger’s injury against the Kansas City Chiefs last November.
Instead of expecting sacks, fumbles, and interceptions on defense, expect opposing quarterbacks in the grasp that get rid of the ball last second for completions, fumbles failed to be recovered by players in black and gold uniforms, and nears misses on picks, or not even being in the position to make an interception.
Instead of expecting the offensive line to blow open holes for running backs and to give ample time for Roethlisberger to pick a defense apart, expect the linemen to get blown up themselves and to get their quarterback killed in the process.
And instead of expecting Roethlisberger to throw strikes and to lead the Steelers from deficits to victories in the fourth quarter, expect him to be careless with the football and to throw pick sixes.
Maybe if Steelers Nation starts expecting what has become the norm instead of expecting outstanding play that has characterized Steelers football for an extremely long time, Monday mornings and the subsequent five days following may not be as miserable.
And if the Steelers were a deplorable franchise, and if this 2013 squad was actually devoid of talent, it would be easy to expect the pathetic play that has characterized this young season.
Perhaps the most frustrating element of this team is that they are a talented bunch despite their penchant for making mistakes and beating themselves.
There were moments this past Sunday in which the Steelers actually looked like the Steelers of old, getting pressure, breaking off big runs, and connecting on big pass plays.
But negating those plays were the fumbles, interceptions, sacks, and crucial, big plays given up on defense.
For whatever reason, the current version of the Steelers is inconsistent and struggling to establish a positive identity.
And the signs along the way in the first three games of the season are not promising, and to believe that the Steelers will rectify their weaknesses and rebound with a string of victories to get into the playoffs seems ridiculous.
Something just has to give. Or does it?
This Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, the Steelers will be looking establish some sort of consistency to earn their first win of the season, but as has been established, there is really no reason to believe that they will do so.
Until the Steelers stop turning the football over, make big plays both offensively and defensively, and ultimately, get a win, there is no strong evidence to believe that this team can rebound and get out of the AFC North cellar.
So what should we expect against the Vikings? If the first three games suggest anything, we can expect more of the same