When Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was asked to evaluate various aspects of his team's season opener at New England, he had a stock answer. "We're 0-1," Tomlin said when asked at various points in his weekly news conference about the Steelers' wide receivers, offensive line and new players.
That might have been the polite way to say the Steelers were humiliated 33-3 Sunday night on national television against the defending Super Bowl champions. "We've got to put play on tape that reflects our intentions," Tomlin said. "We're all 0-1, and we better be scalded by that. There will be no division in this group. That's how we are wired. This is what we put out there."
The Steelers will look for marked improvement when they host the Seattle Seahawks (1-0) on Sunday. "We're foaming at the mouth for our next opportunity, and we better be," Tomlin said. "We're focused on us as we prepare for those guys. With respect to them, we are focused on us and the things that we need to play winning ball."
And that comes down to the smallest things. Four times against the Patriots, the Steelers needed to gain one yard for a first down on third or fourth down and failed. On another, at the New England 1-yard line on the first drive of the second half, they elected to kick a field goal to cut their deficit to 20-3. "Third-and-1, convertible downs and you can't stay on the field," Steelers guard David DeCastro told The Athletic. "It's tough as an offense, and then you get one-dimensional passing the ball, it just sucks."
The remedy? "Just go back to work. It's one game,'' DeCastro said. "Nobody's panicking here yet. Obviously it's not what you hoped for, not what you expected. Just get back on the horse, get back to work."
The Seahawks are coming off a 21-20 victory against visiting Cincinnati despite being outgained in total yardage 429-234. Russell Wilson completed 14 of 20 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns, including a 44-yard strike to Tyler Lockett on the first play of the fourth quarter that proved to be the winner.
Chris Carson rushed for just 46 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries but had a 21-yard carry on a third-and-1 late in the game to help the Seahawks milk the clock. Carson also caught six passes for 34 yards and a score. "We didn't run the ball well," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after the game. "Seventy-five yards is not enough for us. We need to run the ball better than that. I felt like we're not in command of the sticks. That's where the play pass and everything fits together. We were behind a lot. We'll be better."
The Seahawks haven't played in Pittsburgh since 2011, when they were shut out 24-0 with Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback. That was the last time Seattle was blanked. Steelers cornerback Joe Haden (shoulder), fullback Roosevelt Nix (knee) and center Maurkice Pouncey (ankle) missed practice time this week, as did the Seahawks' Lockett (back), centers Justin Britt (knee) and Joey Hunt (ankle), defensive tackle Poona Ford (calf), safety Tedric Thompson (hamstring) and cornerback Neiko Thorpe (hamstring).
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