Gene Collier at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette regales his readers with a description of how the Steelers covered (or more accurately failed to cover) Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski last night.
“There were any number of reasons to expect a burst of [Patriots quarterback Tom] Brady virtuosity Thursday night, not the least of which was the presence on the Steelers sideline of Shamarko Thomas and Cortez Allen, the two defenders most urgently charged with solidifying a suspected secondary this season.
“That neither could earn a starting assignment in the opener sent a bad moon rising over [Steelers head coach Mike] Tomlin’s team, a dark karma it only exacerbated by the curious way in which it attempted to cover monster tight end Gronkowski, perhaps best described as running after him helplessly as he cruised toward the end zone.
“Gronkowski scored three touchdowns and fellow Patriots tight end Scott Chandler a fourth. Not even by putting Thomas and Robert Golden on the field at the same time in dime coverage could new defensive coordinator Keith Butler spin any combination of coverage that could be deemed, uh, coverage.”
I know a lot of media experts are high on the Steelers this year and they’re considered to be a Super Bowl contender based upon their offensive potential. But that offense shot itself in the foot far too often last night with a turnover and a team total of 8 penalties for 77 yards against a mediocre Patriots defense. Two missed field goals didn’t help. I saw nothing from the Steelers offense to convince me that they’re going to be able to make up for what looks to me like a well-below average defense of their own.
There have been rumblings about dissatisfaction with Tomlin in Pittsburgh. They’re a franchise that’s known for its stability when it comes to head coaches but I’m already starting to wonder if he won’t be in trouble by December.