PHILADELPHIA -- The face of the Steelers’ defense also proved to be the face of the team after a humbling 31-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.
Strong safety Troy Polamalu looked perplexed and maybe a little shaken as the eight-time Pro Bowler searched for words in the aftermath of the unmasking the Steelers' starters received in the final preseason game that they will play extensively.
“I’m not going to predict the future [on] whether we are ready or not,” Polamalu said of the rapidly approaching regular season. “If you look at today’s performance, you could definitely say we’re not. If you look at last week’s performance, you could say maybe we have a shot.”
Yep, that sounds about right.
The Steelers looked good last Saturday night in beating an opponent that looks like a six-win team this season. The Steelers were overmatched against an opponent that is the favorite to win the NFC East -- and could make some noise in the playoffs.
Nothing went right for the Steelers against the Eagles, and only a couple of late touchdowns -- after the starters for both teams had left the game -- made the final score artificially close.
The Eagles were faster and more physical than the Steelers.
Their utter dominance is why Polamalu paused after he was asked if a loss that doesn’t count in the standings mitigates what transpired Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
“They probably don’t matter when you win,” Polamalu said of preseason games. “When you lose, you look at every error that you make. Obviously we’got a lot of film to watch and a lot of mistakes to correct. There’s a lot of room for improvement.”
Coach Mike Tomlin called the Steelers’ play “unacceptable.”
He was right about that even if it only was a preseason game.
“I’m interested to seeing how this group responds to our performance,” Tomlin said. “I’m going to challenge our coaches and players alike to hopefully get better.”