The Pittsburgh Steelers allowed 55 points to the New England Patriots on Sunday, and 55 points is an embarrassing number no matter the team on the other side of the field. The Steelers looked completely unprepared, and they had absolutely no idea how to stop Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots tight end simply dominated the Steelers defense, and it’s concerning to see that the Steelers didn’t even seem to have a tangible gameplan to stop Gronk. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin stated before the game that Gronkowski was the No. 1 guy for the defense to stop, and they allowed the Patriots No. 1 guy to catch nine passes for 143 yards.
For the record, I think Tomlin is a really good coach. For the record, I also think he’s done a horrible job this season, and the Steelers are better than 2-6. Are they a playoff-caliber team in terms of the talent of their personnel? No. But are they this bad? Not even close. This team has looked unprepared in far too many games this season, and they were unprepared whilst going up against a great team on Sunday. It’s one thing to underestimate a bad team, but it’s another thing to go into a game with a 6-2 team and not have a passable gameplan.
And yet, Mike Tomlin had the nerve to bench one of his best players. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac, Antonio Brown was benched for missing an assignment that led to an interception. Sure, Brown goofed up on that play, but why in the heck would you bench a star player for one mistake? For one friggin’ mistake? That’s ludicrous, because it shows that Tomlin must be quite short-sighted. Brown had five receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown in that game, and he’s been a sure-fire All-Pro candidate this season. Why would you bench him for one mistake? It’s a mind-boggling decision. I know Tomlin is enraged at the team’s poor showings and wants to do anything to get his team better, but benching Brown could only have adverse effects. It was a bad decision, especially because he decided to make an example out of the team’s best performer this season.
There were so many mistakes made by the Steelers in that game that it makes little sense to just blame Brown and bench him. Had the reasoning for benching Brown been to give a star player the night off in a blowout loss, then that would have honestly been a better reason for benching him.