If you are a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and, for whatever reason, you missed Sunday’s 38-3 loss in Buffalo, I’m guessing the first thing that went through your mind was: “Was it really that bad?”
In this week’s “Madden Monday” podcast, Mark Madden of 105.9 The X and TribLIVE is here to tell you, “Yes. Yes, it was.”
And then some.
“They got bored,” Madden said of the Bills. “That’s the only reason they didn’t score into the 50s. They barely tried in the second half. It was embarrassing for the Steelers. I can’t say I thought they were going to win. But I didn’t think they would lose to this degree. I didn’t think they’d get blown out in the first half to the point that the other team didn’t find a need to try in the second.”
Well, here’s the good news. At least it can’t get any worse than losing by 35, right?
Not so, said Madden.
“It ain’t gonna get better. I don’t see any game the rest of the way they should win,” Madden said. “There are a couple they probably will. But they are going to go into the bye 1-7. There is no doubt about that. How could anybody bet against that?”
Well, I’ll bet against that. Just by virtue of how the NFL works, the Steelers will stumble into a victory they shouldn’t get. Or maybe the Miami Dolphins will be so banged up at quarterback that the Steelers can exploit a third-stringer like the New York Jets did to Skylar Thompson. But that, admittedly, could be wishful thinking on my part.
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A big chunk of Madden’s pessimism is tied to the absence of TJ Watt. Based on reports this week, that absence is going to continue for a while.
The reigning defensive player of the year injured a pectoral muscle in Week 1 during the victory at Cincinnati. He was eligible to come off the injured reserve list after the Bills game. However, Watt had arthroscopic knee surgery while his pec was healing. So who knows if we’ll see Watt any time before the bye.
“Look at their record (0-8-1 since the start of 2021) without him,” Madden said. “That doesn’t prove his value. Well, abstractly, it does. But it also proves they shouldn’t have given him a long-term deal. They should have franchised him year by year. I said that, then. It has proven out since. And I don’t think you are ever going to get anything resembling a full season out of TJ Watt again. And it is such a bad defense without him.”
How bad? It’s a unit that has given up 900 yards over the last two games.
Also, in the podcast this week, Madden and I talk about the starting debut of Kenny Pickett. We get into the woes of the pass catchers. We also discuss the dawn of the 2022-23 Penguins season. And we flash back on 30 years of despair since the Pirates last won a division title.
Listen: Tim Benz and Mark Madden review the Steelers’ loss to the Bills
Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.