Steelers vs. Titans week four postponement extends skepticism?
Although Steelers have an undefeated record of 3-0 & are first place in the AFC North, some still lack confidence in the legitimacy of the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers.
With no certainty of an end, the number just keeps growing. No, I’m not talking Pittsburgh Steelers OLB T.J Watt’s sack total, but in the latest reports by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Tennessee Titans are now up to 18 members of their organization that has tested positive for COVID-19.
Now quarantined, the NFL has postponed the Steelers vs. Titans game to October 25th., or week seven. Steelers HC Mike Tomlin is preparing & leading for the arduous road ahead for Pittsburgh.
And with that mindset from the main man himself, let us continue.
Titans posed a suitable challenge to answer questions of the Steelers
In the first three weeks, the Steelers are 3-0 with a point differential of plus 22. Atop the AFC North & the only remaining undefeated team in the division, the past games have not been the smoothest victories, but a win is a win, right?
While, yes, filling up the columns full of W’s is what matters in the end, the optics of them do as well. Speculated by media outlets all week, the legitimacy of the Steelers is in question as their opponents on the season are a combined 0-9.
Can they help who they face based on the schedule? Of course not, and it is usually a forte of the Steelers to play down their competition. However, it is satisfying that they could handle their business before the meat of the season.
Flipping to the opposite spectrum of the NFL, the Titans are one of seven teams that are still undefeated on the season and have performed well up to this point. They have played a mutual opponent in the Denver Broncos, they have also faced the Jacksonville Jaguars & Minnesota Vikings to open 2020, averaging 26.7 points per game (tied 15th w/ PIT) through this stretch.
An offense featuring RB Derrick Henry, who is averaging 106.3 rushing yards per game, would’ve been the first challenge of solidifying a Steelers defense that has only allowed one team to run for more than 30 yards on the season. Although this hasn’t been the “problem” for Pittsburgh and their respects are well-received upfront, it’s the effect of this success by Tennessee.
Deadly lethal on the PA, Titans QB Ryan Tannehill’s lack of high-volume through the air is replaced by the excellent efficiency they find through this style of play.
With an offensive line that has protected at a rate as one the league’s best and comparably greater than what the Steelers have faced so far, Tannehill has also fared well when the pocket has broken down.
Ridiculously stout upfront, Pittsburgh has not served up to expectations in coverage. Five players allow a completion percentage of 60 or better with at least ten targets, with three of the five giving up a QB rating of 100.00 or more when targeted.
Fixable errors? Of course, and the talent plus coaching is here where they can have a turning point back to the level we saw in 2019 as a group. Not having to be ultimately shutdown cornerbacks or top-flight safeties that cover hash-to-hash, it’s just that the discipline & strength of the Pittsburgh defense would’ve been tested, considerably their DBs.
In the end, they only have it to prove it to themselves
More so, what would’ve been the keys to stopping the Titans had they played this week, the lack of assurance from others shouldn’t be surprising. Winning creates doubt & questions all things to the reasons why.
If anything, the Titans defense, that has given up more touchdowns (10) than what their offense has scored (8), would’ve had a day in not allowing 30 or more points for a third straight game.
What could’ve done right for the Steelers to the public eye, and indeed is a great matchup to clarify things on-field, the narratives only mean so little. Rising back in the ranks & now without the clear restrictions on offense, they are more than a dark horse for the AFC, but rather a team that will be taken seriously in January.