Pittsburgh is now 3-1. But at what cost?
Sure the scoreboard says they won, sure the standings say they won, and sure history will say they won, but in the end, Pittsburgh lost. Pure and simple.
Let's start with the game.
First, they played horribly in the beginning, holding a great seven-plus-minute drive down the field that lead to only three points. Three points. That is all. Second, the Steelers's offensive line could not protect Big Ben Roethlisberger enough.
Since they no longer have guard Alan Faneca (lost to NY Jets in free agency), the Steelers have had trouble protecting their quarterback. When the quarterback is hit, his timing is going to be affected, and timing is as important as mobility and arm strength.
They barely win against Baltimore. Baltimore is all defense people. Their offense is B-rated at most. Flacco is good, but he doesn't have a power receiver, except maybe Derrick Mason, and he isn't an elite receiver.
Also Mason made a catch in the end zone. The coach just didn't challenge it, so Pittsburgh got lucky there, too. Also, Pittsburgh barely wins at home, so what does that say if they are in Baltimore?
This game, even though it was a victory, confirmed that the Steelers have a weak offensive line. Center Mike Webster, from the Steel Curtain days, would be disgusted. Any team with a good defense can just blitz through the lines and take out Big Ben. The Redskins, Cowboys, and Giants are going to rip Ben in two with their powerful defensive lines.
Now here comes the biggest loss. Injuries. They have taken big hits on their team. Starting right guard Kendall Simmons and first-round pick, running back Rashard Mendenhall are out for the season. That's right. Not one or two weeks: the season!
That means that Pittsburgh has now lost two guards and a running back. That is bad, considering Willie Parker is on the sidelines now with an injury, too. Pittsburgh could become one-dimensional and have to resort to passing only for scoring.
I think most coaches would rather keep players healthy and lose than vice versa, unless of course, we are talking the Super Bowl.
I think that Jacksonville is going to give Pittsburgh real trouble next week, and I think Pittsburgh will lose next week. I don't think Pittsburgh will the Super Bowl this year either.