Steel City wake-up: Morning links

CINCINNATI -- The Steelers refused in the offseason to use the word rebuild and even blanched at the suggestion that they were a team in transition.

ESPN.com columnist Kevin Seifert, however, writes that we may indeed be looking at the end of an era following a 20-10 loss to the Bengals on Monday night.

There are still some core players left from the team that won two Super Bowls and played in another one from 2005-2010. But the Steelers simply don’t have enough around those players to think they can right themselves following their first 0-2 start under seventh-year coach Mike Tomlin.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gene Collier casts a critical eye toward the AFC North where the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens have been shaky, the Steelers are reeling and the Browns are apparently still the Browns.

That is one of the few positives that the Steelers can take from the first two weeks of the season, that the AFC North doesn’t look particularly strong this year. Not that it will matter if the Steelers don’t make dramatic improvement on offense.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Dejan Kovacevic examines the plight of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger didn’t play his best game in Cincinnati, but Kovacevic writes that he is not getting enough help from his wide receivers.

The Steelers were upset about a tripping penalty on right tackle Marcus Gilbert that wiped out a 33-yard pass play and shifted momentum back to the Bengals in the third quarter . But the Post-Gazette’s Ron Cook writes that the Steelers are making too many mistakes for even a good team to overcome.

Running on empty: The Steelers’ ground game is lost, and the team’s inability to run the ball is dragging the season down with it. It is hard to imagine the Steelers could be this inept in the running game after two games, but they have a grand total of 75 rushing yards.

Making dubious history: The Steelers haven’t struggled this much on offense in more than a decade.

Taylor up to challenge: Ike Taylor receives a much-deserved game ball after again containing Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green.

Blame game: Yeah, the offense is in bad shape but the players need to be held accountable along with coordinator Todd Haley.