The Miami Dolphins and the Cincinnati Bengals appear to be on a race to the bottom for the worst team in the league for the 2019 season. Both teams are helmed by new, first-year head coaches, the latter being Zac Taylor of the Sean McVay coaching tree, the former Brian Flores, coming over from the New England Patriots under Bill Belichick.
One of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ two wins so far through six games has come against Taylor’s winless Bengals team. Now they are hoping to get a third victory against Flores’ winless Dolphins. Pittsburgh is coming off a bye week, playing at home on Monday night, a scenario in which Mike Tomlin has never lost. Plus they’re in their Color Rush uniforms.
Despite all the intangibles siding in their direction, Tomlin is not about to take any opponent lightly. When he was asked about the Dolphins and their struggles to win games this year while keeping games close, he was quick to point out that “they’re a professional football outlet”.
“There’s a fine line in our game between winning every game and losing every game”, he told reporters during his pre-game press conference. “Look at how our games have unfolded. We’ve lost a significant number of games by a very small margin, but they’re losses nonetheless. That’s just life in the National Football League”.
While the Steelers are 2-4 on the season, three of their losses have come by a combined total of just nine points. They held leads in the fourth quarter in all three of the games that they lost, one of them even going into overtime. As for Miami, they were blown out during the first four games, but were competitive in the last two until the end.
“They’re a very capable group. They have talented people at every level. They’re challenging schematically”, Tomlin said of the Dolphins. “Coach Flores and company, they really challenge you schematically with a number of pressures and personnel packages and so forth. Particularly when you’re working with an inexperienced quarterback, it’s troublesome”.
And the Steelers do have an inexperienced quarterback in Mason Rudolph. Not only is he making just his fourth career start and fifth appearance overall, he is also going to see his first game action since suffering a concussion.
Miami got off to an abysmal start to the season, to the point where there were reports that players were requesting trades because they didn’t want to be a part of a tanking operation. They did trade Minkah Fitzpatrick—to the Steelers—and they’ve had a number of moving parts since then, but in recent weeks, it has looked to be in the name of competitiveness.
Nevertheless, I’m hoping they lie down for Pittsburgh.