THE SCHEDULE IS THE STEELERS’ HERO

The Steelers are 4-4, and have won three straight. This has happened without Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback.

But it’s not an inspirational story. It’s a tale of scheduling and circumstance.

The Steelers won three games against teams with a combined record of 5-20. Then, this past Sunday, they beat a third-string QB.

Now the Steelers play one of last year’s Super Bowl participants. But the Los Angeles Rams are a mediocre 5-3, with their star quarterback and running back exemplifying that mediocrity.

After that, five of the Steelers’ next six foes have a combined record of 6-26-1. The sixth opponent in that span is Buffalo. Even at 6-2, I can’t take the Bills seriously.

The Steelers could make the playoffs without beating a team better than Indianapolis. (But I bet they don’t.)

It’s like the Steelers’ season is scripted by L. Ron Hubbard, or Ray Bradbury. It’s science fiction applied to football.

Mason Rudolph is a zombie quarterback. His eyes are glassy. He’s got a vacant grin. Nothing he does is by his own bidding.

JuJu Smith-Schuster is sponsored by Pepsi. Rudolph should be sponsored by 7Up. He’s the un-quarterback.

Max Kellerman of ESPN lionized Mike Tomlin for rallying the Steelers from 1-3.

But despite the three-game win streak, I see drastic mismanagement of the QB position and an offense that isn’t getting any better. You need that offense to grow, no matter who’s at quarterback. But it isn’t. The wide receivers are disappearing. The Steelers are averaging just 3.8 yards per run.

Tomlin’s replay reviews are a joke. His two challenges late in Sunday’s fourth quarter were insanely bad decisions. Tomlin had no hope to win either, and he burned two timeouts. But washed-up Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri saved the day.

Mark Madden

Mark Madden

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