3Rivers’ Takeaways: No balls given

Christina Rivers (3Rivers_Writer on Twitter) offers her Pittsburgh Steelers post-game takeaways, both positive and negative, as Steel City Underground extends its coverage of the Steelers’ on-field performances throughout the 2021-22 NFL regular season.

After watching the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals “play” in Week 12 of the 2021 NFL regular season, I knew that I wouldn’t have many positive takeaways to share. In fact, the discussion in the backrooms of Steel City Underground surrounded the fact that it appeared that the Steelers just gave up on Sunday in Cincinnati. For that reason, no game balls were given because it wasn’t appropriate to give more effort in praise than what was shown on the field.

There was discussion of just simply offering Steelers fans an article with a headline and zero words.

My only issue with that is that I have plenty of words to say about the complete breakdown of the Steelers, it’s just that there really aren’t many that need to be said beyond one: failure.

“We’re getting beaten up in the trenches on both sides of the ball. And until we fix those issues up front on both sides, it’s a waste of time to discuss any other variables.” – Mike Tomlin to CBS Sports during halftime.

There will be a lot of social media discussion about the lack of effort given. At this point, however, bringing up Steelers teams of the past – especially those teams led by Bubby Brister and Kent Graham – does nothing but make long-time fans who haven’t died of embarrassment yet feel even older. Saying, “I’ve been there,” is redundant and unnecessary.

As for the younger generation of Steelers fans, they’re feeling the pain of a declining Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback for the first time, a potential under .500 season under Tomlin, the likelihood that Pittsburgh misses the playoffs, and aren’t sure what to do other than complain – loudly. Again, “I’ve been there,” would just make it sound like those who really have are nothing more than old men and women shaking their fists and yelling at clouds.

I hesitate to predict that this is the beginning of what may very well be a stretch of time in which the Steelers are irrelevant on the NFL stage, but it’s a very real possibility that this is the start of the total rebuild we all knew was coming. Nothing great lasts forever.

So, my biggest takeaway from Sunday’s game was that the Steelers – not all of them, but enough of them – rolled over and let the Bengals do whatever they wanted because they didn’t have what it took to stop them. No balls were given.

Is it time to jump ship from the Steelers Nation train? Yes, if you can’t handle taking some ugly losses. No, if you can look around the rest of the league and see teams, that had been very successful, in similar woeful positions today.

Let’s hope that Pittsburgh fans don’t become the Kansas City fans that, not so many years ago, threw bottles at players as they were booing. That was an ugly, ugly time. Hopefully, Steelers fans can suck it up just a bit and keep a modicum of class in what may be a heartbreaking rest of the season that resembles a buffering wheel on a crappy web stream of a game.

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