Like the year the Steelers ran roughshod over the AFC and ended the season 15-1? Only to need miraculously poor play from kicking.com founder Dougie Brien to advance against the inferior Jets?
To play devil's advocate, I think the '04 reference is very apro pos...to support the OP's point.
Pittsburgh was rolling that year and played well down the stretch because they had to in order to lock down the #1. So, they got a first round bye and came out flat against the crappy Jets...at home.
The game against the Ravens felt a lot like '04 to me. It felt like they were treating it as their bye.
Yeah, they said all the right things...publicly. But, when you say stuff like, "we're playing to win the game," while players who would've normally played if it was a "must win" are sitting on the sidelines, how is that going to affect the rest of the squad?
Negatively, I'd say.
I'm still of the belief that this team is going to be really out of sync on Saturday. I hope to God that they prove me wrong there, but for a group that has been struggling to find and maintain any kind of rhythm, an "off" week isn't what they needed.
Gimmee a half; maybe a quarter, minimum, of full strength, all hands on deck effort and play it from there. Have everybody prepare and ready to execute. IMO, that does a better job of keeping the rust off and players fresh. Don't pack it in on Tuesday for certain players. Letting guys coast through the final week of the season breeds laziness...complacenc
y. IMO, those guys won't stay sharp.
Again, hope I'm 100% dead-fucking-wrong.