It's similar to being a fat guy. You didn't get to be fat overnight, and the losing of the weight that is the solution to the problem isn't going to happen overnight, either.
When the Steelers arrived in Baltimore for their 2011 regular season opener, they were, if not downright fat, well, definitely pudgy. For a variety of reasons, the Steelers weren't prepared for their opener, from the changes the Ravens instituted in the way their offensive line blocked for the running attack to the intensity with which the team played throughout.
Over-confident and ill-prepared are no way to go through what life presents to an NFL team, and so it was that the Steelers found themselves at a critical point of their season and it wasn't even Sept. 15.
The challenge presented last Sunday came from a Seahawks team that was as far removed from what the Ravens presented as the geographical distance from Seattle to Baltimore. There was an opinion that the Steelers needed to pull off the football version of an eye-for-an-eye and pummel the Seahawks for all to be well, but this situation called for more than just a fad diet and a quick weight-loss.
What needed to happen at Heinz Field was the first step in a process. That's really what 24-0 over the Seahawks was, and that's all it was.
"I think we responded well. I think we knew what we had to do," said Emmanuel Sanders, "but we're still the same team that got beat by Baltimore so we can't be licking our chops. We have plenty more work to do."
That's going to be the key right there. If Sanders, the second-year pro, is an accurate reflection of the rest of the Steelers locker room, a corner seems to have been turned. And in one sense, maybe it's going to turn out to be fortunate for the Steelers that the Ravens exposed this in them right off the bat because it's going to give them more time to get back on the proper path.
There are a lot of things to like about this group of Steelers, and they have many of the necessary elements to cobble together a run at a championship. But what they definitely do not have is a team that can simply show up and intimidate the opponent into a loss. How close they actually were to believing that of themselves as this season began is a guess, just as it's a guess now as to whether they've truly learned their lesson.
It's going to take time, and patience, and dedication, and persistence. Just like losing weight.
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