NPC’s “NFL Power Rankings Wrapup:” Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 2


December 30, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin reacts on the sidelines against the Cleveland Browns during the first quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Many are not “believers” in the Pittsburgh Steelers after only one week of regular season play.  I will say that those folks do have plenty of valid reasons to doubt this franchise at the moment.  The Steelers failed to record 200 yards of total offense against the Titans in their 16-9 loss at Heinz Field this weekend.  Pittsburgh’s garbage performance in turn caused the team to plummet in the “NFL Power Rankings” of many pundits around the league:

"Someone should register the trademark for “B-b-but we still have six rings.-Mike Florio (Pro Football Talk, Ranked #29)"

Although Mike Florio’s assessment is a bit on the “snarky” side, it is truly spot-on.  In fact, what Florio said will probably be the attitude of many members of “Steeler Nation” at the end of the 2013 regular season if the team continues to play like they did in Week 1.  I honestly think that #29 is the correct spot to place this sorry team.

"This was a puke-on-your-shoes performance by the Steelers offense against the Titans.  The loss of Maurkice Pouncey will be huge.-Pete Prisco (CBS, Ranked #21)"

Like ESPN’s assessment, Prisco points to the Steelers being in huge trouble without their three-time Pro Bowl center.  Prisco however was quite generous with his placement of Pittsburgh at #21 overall.  I guess that he believes that the offensive performance in Week 1 was more of the “exception” than the “norm” for this team to the CBS columnist.

"Wow.  The Steelers looked awful and losing two key starters and one reserve player to season-ending injuries is a tough pill to swallow for a team that doesn’t have much to look forward to right now.-Brian Billick (FOX, Ranked #26)"

Billick brings up an interesting point that the Steelers don’t “have much to look forward to right now.”  Outside of Jarvis Jones, Markus Wheaton, and Shamarko Thomas, this team’s younger players have looked absolutely atrocious as of late.  Moreover, there will not be much to smile about if Mike Tomlin continues to sail this “rebuilding ship” in the wrong direction.

"Pittsburgh had 15 rushes for 32 yards in the opener, and lost center Maurkice Pouncey and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling with torn ACLs.  Not a good start.– (Week 2 PRs, Ranked #23)"

This assessment captures just how “screwed” Pittsburgh’s running game will be during the next 15 games.  This team will not recover from the loss of Pouncey, and “Big Ben” will feel the brunt of it from oncoming defensive tackles when he drops back to pass.  It would be a minor miracle if David DeCastro, Mike Adams, Marcus Gilbert, Ramon Foster, and Kelvin Beachum gelled without the steady play of Pouncey.

"There’s a black cloud hovering over Heinz Field, and it sure isn’t carrying a bunch of Terrible Towels.  All the black shirts in the stands on Sunday afternoon drove home worried and stayed worried.  One rough loss was followed by another with the news that center Maurkice Pouncey will be gone for the season after suffering a knee injury.  The organization was excited that David DeCastro, the top draft pick who missed much of his rookie season in 2012, was back on the interior of the offensive line; now, though, that unit won’t be at full strength in 2013, either.  This franchise always fights back; let’s see how Six-burgh responds.-Elliot Harrison (, Ranked #25)"

Harrison is right to worry about the interior of Pittsburgh’s offensive line.  It seems like this unit has been taking “one step forward, three steps back” during the last few seasons, and injuries have destroyed what could have been a cohesive unit by now.  Harrison appears to believe that this team has “fight” left in them, and he’s entitled to his opinion.  Yet for those of us who watched that “slop-fest” on Sunday afternoon, this team showed absolutely zero “fight” against the Titans.

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