The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a precarious dilemma.
Week 2 they blank the Seattle Seahawks, and the comments are: “Of course they should have won."
It is akin to the Steelers being on their own yellow brick road. The Ravens, by their showing in Week 2, have proven to be the Cowardly Lion. Who knew that all the black and gold had to do was to stand up and slap Baltimore on the nose? Instead, the Steelers were stunned by the roar of the Lion, Roethlisberger's scrambling amassed 280 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.
The second stop on the road the Steelers come across the Scarecrow dressed up as Seattle Seahawks. Tarvaris Jackson, charged with operating the offense as a straw man with no brain, was never able to lead his team within 25 yards of the end zone. The defense forced the Scarecrow into five sacks. Roethlisberger threw for 298 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions. The offense was 53 percent on third-down efficiency.
And now they travel to Indianapolis to meet the Colts. The Colts are the Tin Man, operating without their heart (Manning). The Colts are 0-2, having lost to both the Texans and the Browns. The Colts allowed Houston's backup running back Ben Tate 116 yards and its quarterback Matt Schaub 220 yards in the air.
In their second game, the Cleveland Browns beat the Colts 27-19. Cleveland's Colt McCoy passed for 211 yards and a touchdown, while Peyton Hillis ran for 94 yards with two touchdowns. And the lack of heart is on both sides, as the Colts offense gave up two sacks and one interception. The offensive line will not protect Kerry Collins and the defense will not protect the house. Without a heart the Tin Man is a hollow shell, waiting for the Steelers to dismantle him further.
So, who are this year’s Pittsburgh Steelers? Tradition dictates the Steelers are the great and powerful Oz, the team behind the curtain. Traditionally, the Steelers have been all about the defense. Then the Steelers became the ground-and-pound team with Troy Polamalu and James Harrison as the defenders of the end zone. The Steelers then became the team with the very big quarterback who wouldn’t go down and was defended by a weak offensive line. And through all these transformations, they remained the Pittsburgh Steelers, never one to be distracted by the roar of the Cowardly Lion.
The Steelers lost to the Lion and beat the Scarecrow. This week they meet the Tin Man in his home. It is time for the Steelers to come from behind the curtain and decide who they are. The lockout has slowed everything. Defenses in the league are lagging behind the offenses.
The Steelers are no different. They are making progress—by necessity they will define themselves with their wins and losses.