What a difference one game makes huh? No one, and I mean NO ONE including me, thought the Pittsburgh Steelers would go into Buffalo in week one and win. But what do ya know? That’s exactly what they did and now suddenly the script has flipped.
Suddenly all of the talking heads are singing a different tune. But I’ve seen this movie before and I recognize this is one game out of 17 but do they? This is a marathon, not a sprint and we could be right back to square one with a bad performance against Las Vegas next week. But winning against an AFC opponent on the road in the opening game of the season is a helluva way to get people thinking positively. Keep in mind this team (the offense I should say) was pretty awful for two quarters Sunday. What does that mean? It means things need to get cleaned up. Maybe you’ve already seen enough to start feeling positive yourself. The NFL Predictions already have the Steelers favored to win on Sunday.
When the Steelers start preparations for the Raiders on Wednesday there’s no doubt the onus will be up front. While the unit took a big step from the first half to the second, there is much to be done. Of the five starters, Chuks Okorafor probably had the worst day. Even at right tackle where he played all last season there seemed to be hiccups. He’s not sustaining blocks long enough and is getting pushed around too much. But he wasn’t the only one as nearly every guy on the line had some forgettable moments. These things are normal for week one so none of us should be hitting the panic button because there were positive moments as well.
If you had any doubt that Najee Harris would be Mike Tomlin’s bell cow you should no longer. He played every, single offensive snap on Sunday. That tells me Tomlin is comfortable with the rookie in any situation. Should he be relieved a little? I think a lot of that will depend on the situation and how Tomlin feels about his rookie. With the additional game I’ll be surprised to see him get 100% of offensive snaps each week but who knows? Harris also needs to seek improvement this week. There were moments where the line actually created running room but he either cut the wrong way or failed to shake a tackler. Those things will improve.
Any coach no matter the level will tell you there is always room for improvement and at literally every spot on the field. Whether the first week or the final week this rings true and it certainly does for the Steelers despite them hushing their critics for this week at least.