The Pittsburgh Steelers have walked a strange path so far this season. They started with a victory over their 2008 nemesis, the Titans of Tennessee. But they lost their All World safety to a cringe-worthy knee injury which had fans cursing Madden NFL maker EA Sports and their selection of Troy Polamalu for the game’s cover.
Two weeks and two losses later had fans cursing the hangover effect. How could a team led by the mopey Jay Cutler defeat the Steelers? How could the Bengals defeat the Steelers? The Bengals!? How could the Ravens already have a two-game division lead? How could the Steelers be in third place in the division they’ve owned for the ’00′s? How could Jeff Reed do this to us?
Now, at the end of October, the perspective has changed. The Steelers have a 4-game winning streak. They knocked off the undefeated Vikings, sacking the Fav-ruh and stuffing the AD. The Ravens lost three in a row and now the Steelers share the division lead with those surprising Bengals.
Are things getting back to normal? Polamalu has returned to the lineup but Aaron Smith’s season is over (even if he didn’t grace EA’s game cover). Seemingly shaky early in the season, the defense is rounding into form. And while it’s still Big Ben’s offense, the running game has emerged. Whether due to Rashard Mendenhall’s recent opportunity, an improved offensive line or a little of both matters not. The Steelers ran the ball on the Vikings and got tough yards when necessary.
So now we find ourselves at the bye. It’s time for the team to heal, regroup and successfully negotiate the off week. That means you, Jeff Reed. Stay in the car. Everyone else, as you were.
Then it’s straight ahead to the next challenge, the undefeated Denver Broncos and football in November.