The bye week is a funny and useful week in the NFL. Funny, because for such a violent game and thus violent league, why would anyone want a week off from a sport that immensely popular in the US? I mean, Mr. Goodell and the 32 owners in the league would be able to deepen their pockets with the omission of the bye week and one preseason game to create an 18 game regular season, meaning one more home game. It would please owners and fans alike.
Playing devil's advocate for the players, the bye week is an incredibly useful time to recover and lick your sustained wounds, so to speak. The Steelers happen to be beneficiaries of a bye week in which key players are healing (Cam Heyward, Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Marcus Gilbert, and DeAngelo Williams to name a few).
Sitting at a mediocre "4-3 that should be 5-2 or 6-1 but injuries and lack of mental focus hurt us", the second half of the season will be pivotal to get that elusive first round bye. With Ben out indefinitely, however, just getting into the playoffs might prove difficult. Landry Jones can only help a team do so much. He did look solid against the Patriots, but possibly not good enough to squeak past both the Ravens and Cowboys the next two weeks. Without Cam Heyward clogging up the middle, our run defense has been pitiful, and I am not looking forward to potentially facing Ezekiel Elliot in a couple weeks. But that is enough worrying about the team. Let's talk about the fans.
Being a Steelers fan this year, like every previous year, has probably taken a year or two off of your life with the gut-wrenching gaffes this offense has had or the blown coverages and missed tackles on defense. This week, fans are coming to terms with the fact that they will have to swallow their pride after getting bumped down the power rankings and falling from the ranks of the Super Bowl favorites. To win this year, the Steelers will have to grind like traditional Steeler football. It's the character of this franchise, and as the saying goes, it's always darkest before the dawn. Hopefully that means Ben & Co. come back rested and hungry for another Lombardi on the other side of this bye week.