My Steelers aren't looking good for a playoff berth this year.
They may sneak in by earning a wild card slot; I'm even having doubts about that. After four weeks, six AFC teams have better records.
But unless the entire Ravens team is wiped out in some freak accident, the Steelers aren't going to win their division.
Of course I was of the same mind about Pittsburgh's chances of getting to the championship game about two-thirds of the way through the season last year and they somehow slugged their way to the Super Bowl. And they got there with an offensive line every bit as messed up as this year's; plus, a starting quarterback who missed the first four games of the season and then campaigned through the playoffs with a broken foot.
I know better than to count these guys out.
Last year, though, even with the offense struggling, the defense was knocking the ever-living bejesus out of everybody. Not so much this year.
The aging D is losing its hard edge. Steelers' D isn't creating turnovers, isn't getting to the QB, and isn't stopping the run with the effectiveness as in seasons past. Houston rushed for 180 yards! They were blasting holes in the Steelers defensive line that Michael Moore could have waddled through.
No point in discussing the offensive line in any detail. It did an acceptable job getting some rushing yards (118), but just couldn't protect Ben.
It looked as though the Steelers were getting kicked up one side of the field and down the other, but looking at the game stats, they were pretty close. At the end of the first half, it was surprising that it was only a 10-point game. It just wasn't as bad as it looked.
In terms of total yards, yards gained per play and time of possession, they were very, very close. Houston just managed to put seven more points on the board than the Steelers, but the final score is what counts.
Next Sunday they have another tough one against the 3-1 Titans.
I hope this space will be filled with a happier blog next Monday.