Coming out of the Bye Week most Steelers fans eyed the Bengals game as a nice warm up for what would surely be a challenging four game run against the NY Giants, @Washington, Indianapolis and San Diego.
The warm up proved a challenge for the first three quarters of a the game which ended in a 38-10 blowout victory for the visiting Steelers. The defense remained strong, the offense put up points and Bruce Arians felt safe enough to remove his decapitation-proof collar. Surely this was foreshadowing success and the slaying of Giants. Now there was a path to victory through the challenging four game stretch ahead.
Not so much.
After an easy touchdown drive on the first possession of the NY Giants game, the wheels flew off the Pittsburgh Steelers offense as the unit sputtered and stumbled to a grinding halt. Early solutions forgotten, bizarre methods replaced them. Only fine play by the defense kept the game a semi respectable seven point loss.
Now fans are left to wonder what will happen next Monday in Washington, the second of the four game challenge. Steelers injuries mount. Seemingly, for each player that returns, two are lost.
Meanwhile, the Redskins (6-2, 3-1 at home) are facing their toughest foe since back-to-back wins against division rivals Philadelphia and Dallas. They feature a solid defense, the league’s leading rusher and an interception-free quarterback. Not a promising rebound opponent, but one that must be defeated for playoff expectations to continue.
A victory in the capitol would be a confidence builder and the first against an NFC opponent this season.