What is going on in Pittsburgh?
First, the Steelers tied with the Browns in Week 1, which should really be considered a loss. Then, they lost to the Chiefs in Pittsburgh for the first time since 1986, giving up six touchdown passes to Patrick Mahomes in his third career start.
Could it be that the drama is overshadowing football?
The Le’Veon Bell drama has been going on for quite some time, but it really started sizzling when some of his teammates called him out for sitting out at the start of the season.
Then, on Sunday, a Steelers fan who wasn’t happy with LB Bud Dupree’s performance called him out on Twitter, saying, “Where the f—k were you at all game?”
Dupree responded by sending the fan a direct message, saying, “I was at your girl house laid up, wat u gone do.”
The linebacker, who apparently admitted he wasn’t at the game (in reality he had two tackles in the game), isn’t the only player to get into online dust-ups. Star wide receiver Antonio Brown made headlines last week when he threatened to break the jaw of a reporter who wrote negatively about him.
Jesse Washington of ESPN called Brown an “Instagram All-Pro,” claiming he spends too much time on social media and calling him out for his diva behavior.
The wideout took to Twitter to express his frustration. In a now-deleted tweet, Brown said, “Wait to I see u bro we gone see what your jaw look like.” He ended up apologizing, after some time went by.
The on Monday after the Steelers’ loss to the Chiefs, Ryan Scarpino, who did PR for the Steelers from 2010-2017, credited all of Brown’s success to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Scarpino claims that “Ben got AB paid. You know darn well he wouldn’t put up those numbers for other teams.”
Brown disagreed, but did so in a questionable manner.
While he is obviously not demanding a trade, he may have hinted that his legacy would benefit from getting out of Roethlisberger’s shadow.
We can argue whether or not he owes his All-Pro status to his quarterback; having such a consistent passer for most of his career certainly didn’t hurt. But will he be able to count on Big Ben for the rest of his career?
Ben Roethlisberger has struggled to connect on passes of 20+ yards so far this year. He’s hit his target on just two of 13 attempts. That’s 15%. In comparison: in 2016, he connected on 37% of such passes (32-86), and 13 went for TDs. Sunday, when I asked abt it, he said this: pic.twitter.com/ZkAeVOmVbH— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) September 17, 2018
Roethlisberger’s game is declining, which is to be expected from a man of his age. It doesn’t help that he has a new offensive coordinator, either. But the OC and quarterbacks coach, Randy Fitchner, don’t seem to have an answer right now.
Whether or not the drama is causing the Steelers to spiral or if it’s just James Conner’s stupid haircut, this is great news for the division-leading Bengals. The Bengals will have a tough road trip ahead, going to Charlotte and Atlanta in the next two weeks. Any Steelers losses would be greatly appreciated.
James Conner’s barber should be banned from ever using a pair of clippers again. This is a hair crime. pic.twitter.com/oJaJGbhpMk— Bill Crawford (@dveBillCrawford) September 9, 2018
The Steelers are facing a red-hot Ryan Fitzpatrick in Tampa Bay this Monday, so they will need to get their act together if they want to avoid going winless in their first three games.
As for us, we’ll be rooting harder for Fitzpatrick in Week 3 than we ever did when he was on the Bengals’ roster.