Patriots

View from Pittsburgh: What you need to know about the Steelers in 2019 after Brown, Bell

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(Matt Sunday/DKPS)

PITTSBURGH -- It wasn’t all that long ago — late December in fact — the Steelers shut down the Patriots in a 17-10 win at Heinz Field that had plenty of people wondering if Tom Brady and company’s time had passed.

Turns out, that obituary had to be put on hold.

It also turned out to be one of the few high points for the Steelers in a season to forget. A week later, they had their own little pass interference issue in New Orleans in a loss to the Saints that sent Antonio Brown into a downward spiral that wound up with him getting traded to the Raiders.

That Steelers team wound up finishing a disappointing 9-6-1 and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2013. And now, with the upstart Browns becoming the chic pick to win the AFC North, some are ready to write a requiem for this team, as well.

But, much as it wasn’t the case for the Patriots last season, nor is it time to start shoveling dirt on the Steelers.

You’d better believe the Patriots will take the Steelers seriously this week considering their last loss — in a game that mattered — came on that December day last year at Heinz Field.

Steelers and Patriots to kick off the 2019 season. What better way for both teams to test the other? The defending Super Bowl champions against the last team to beat them.

As we’ve done in the past, DKPittsburghSports.com will offer Patriots fans a chance to catch up on what’s been going on with the Steelers, while Greg Bedard will do the same.

Here’s what you need to know:

Team harmony

The Steelers are without the aforementioned Brown and nobody misses him — at least off the field. That’s been especially true as he’s displayed his own personal brand of crazy for the world to see in Oakland. The mercurial receiver was a pain off the field, but he produced on it. That’s why the Steelers were willing to put up with so much silliness from him — until they weren’t. Brown’s gone and the Steelers are much happier in the locker room. They can replace his 104 catches from last season. And they can replicate his 1,297 yards. But they do have to find a way to replace 15 touchdowns in 15 games from a year ago, which won’t be easy?