We’re only one game into the season, but the Pittsburgh Steelers certainly look like the class of the AFC North.
“Mother of pearl, did they look the part (on Monday) or what?’ Ravens analyst Qadry Ismail said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I just sat back and my jaw just dropped to the floor. I thought the Washington Redskins going into the season, you talk about next step, next step, next step. They were going to take the proverbial next step and be a better football team, be a better defense. (Defensive coordinator) Joe Barry talked a lot about how his defense wanted to be aggressive, and offensively Matt Jones was going to be the running back that helps Kirk Cousins and be this run-first offense. And here comes the Pittsburgh Steelers. Everybody was kind of like, ‘Well, we’re not sure what they’re going to be defensively.’”
Well, as it turns out, they’re pretty good. The Steelers allowed just one touchdown in their 38-16 win in Washington and did pretty much whatever they wanted offensively. DeAngelo Williams had 171 total yards and two touchdowns, while Antonio Brown had eight catches for 126 yards and two scores of his own.
“They just straight up mud-stomped the Redskins,” Ismail said. “Ran the ball down their throat as physical as any running attack that I’ve seen. Then at the same time, there were times where Kirk Cousins was throwing in the dirt because he just didn’t feel confidence in his play. Just a clinic they put on – and I didn’t even talk about the job that Antonio Brown did on Bashaud Breeland. I think Breeland is sitting there trying to figure out what he needs to do to be a cornerback in this league. That’s how bad it was. But man, it was tough. That was as good of a performance (as you’ll see). I guess if you’re going to say there’s a next level, they are next level. That’s what it is. So kudos to them. Hopefully the Ravens, as they continue to go along, they can compete. The guys are good, but (the Steelers) are better when it comes to head-to-head.”
If you’re curious, it pains Ismail to praise the Steelers.
“It does pain me,” the Super Bowl XXXV champion said, laughing. “Have you not felt it? Yeah, (it pains me).”
Ismail, though, is looking forward to this Sunday’s matchup between the Steelers (1-0) and Bengals (1-0). He won’t be surprised if Cincy wins, either.
“Hey, this is a week-to-week league,” Ismail said. “You can’t necessarily just make sweeping generalizations. You’ve got to play it out each week. Each week presents its own challenges. The fact that they’re both undefeated and they’re facing off, we know what we saw last year in the playoffs – this is pretty cool. I’me excited that they are meeting up and are going to go head to head, maybe beat each other up a little bit, so we could see them later on down the road not at full strength.”