It was the supposed to be the start of an epic season. One that would see the team move on from the mess that Antonio Brown brought to the team last year. One that would finally see the LeVeon Bell saga in the rear view mirror and one where the defense was going to be much improved, especially in the secondary.
Well, at least for one night, none of that was the case. The Steelers failed to even compete with the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. I didn’t expect the Steelers to win this game, but I certainly didn’t anticipate them getting run out of the building the way they did either.
The offense was vapid. JuJu Smith-Schuster did not fill Brown’s shoes. James Conner made you wonder "what if LeVeon were here" and Vance McDonald was nowhere to be seen. It was so bad, Mike Tomlin, inexplicably, kicked a field goal down 20 points, just to avoid the shutout.
As is always the case when the Steelers play the Patriots, they were out-coached, out schemed, out hustled and out played. The Pats looked unstoppable and the Steelers looked bad, really bad.
The ‘much improved’ defense was a disaster and it made me think out loud as to why in the world Keith Butler was brought back for another season? The secondary, albeit without Sean Davis, was flat out atrocious. I didn’t see anything impressive out of the defense, absolutely nothing.
It was an embarrassing start to what should be a promising season. What the team chooses to do with the loss will define the remainder of their campaign. As they prepare for the Seattle Seahawks in the home opener at Heinz Field this Sunday, they must make some major adjustments.
They need to run the ball more effectively, they need to distribute the ball downfield more consistently, they need to get to the quarterback and they darn sure better prepare.
Pete Carroll is a very solid coach and if the Steelers continue to think that wanting it more is going to be enough to win games, they are going to start 0-2. If they can put together a game play and adjust if it starts to falter, they have a chance to right the ship and get on track.
I think they’ll do it but it won’t be an easy ride on Sunday afternoon.