PITTSBURGH -- Ask yourself this question: Which team in the NFL can most afford to lose both starting receivers with injuries before a game, one going down just before kickoff in pregame warm-ups?
Pick a team, obviously a slug-you-in-the-mouth style of team -- like maybe the Pittsburgh Steelers.
|Willie Parker and the Steelers running backs are still strong. (Getty Images)|
Big deal. For all the talk about how the Steelers are going to become a more wide-open team under new coach Mike Tomlin, they haven't done it in their first five games. So when the receivers went down, the Steelers simply did what you expect the Steelers to do.
Run it. Control it. And play good defense.
They excelled in all three areas and dominated the Seahawks at Heinz Field in a dominating 21-0 victory that upped their record to 4-1. The Steelers instilled their will on Seattle, holding the ball for 40:45 to 19:15, rolling up 342 yards to 144 for the Seahawks.
"I told the guys out there I wasn't doing anything, so I was thinking about ordering a pizza," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel said.
To me, playing with pizza in the stomach in 88-degree October heat is akin to watching a game with all four starting receivers out with injuries -- which this one entailed.
My personal hell: Three hours of football without any vertical threats, making pass a bad four-letter word.
The Steelers were the team that made the most of it. They controlled both lines of scrimmage, which you had to do to win this one. They had 163 rushing yards to 38 for the Seahawks. On a humid day, that's the way to beat down an opponent.
Seattle, which was on the second of back-to-back road games, was clearly bothered by the heat. How else can you explain four men standing over their benches with screens to keep the sun off the players?