PITTSBURGH — It is one thing to lose a football game.
It is something much worse to be ridiculed on national television.
The Steelers took a well-deserved beating on the Amazon Prime telecast Thursday night on their way to an embarrassing 21-18 home loss to the New England Patriots that left their playoff hopes on life support and turned up the heat on the man most responsible for the rotten performance, Mike Tomlin.
"Playing a 2-10 team two weeks in a row, and this is their effort?" analyst Kirk Herbstreit asked.
"Pretty terrible," play-by-play man Al Michaels added.
It was what we have come to expect from these sorry Steelers. Mental mistakes. Wasted timeouts. An inability to convert third downs. Another short-yardage failure. Another poor punt by Pressley Harvin III.
It all comes back to Tomlin, whose approval rating in this town has never been lower.
The Steelers dug themselves a 21-3 hole against a team that came in averaging an NFL-worst 12.3 points per game and had scored a total of 13 points in their previous three games. It was easy to see it was going to be a long night from the start when the Patriots went 75 yards for a touchdown on their opening drive. Quarterback Bailey Zappe, who did a fair Tom Brady impersonation and finished with three touchdown passes and a 115.2 passer rating, connected with JuJu Smith-Schuster or a 37-yard gain on the third play of the possession. It was the Patriots' first completion of 30 yards this season.
The Steelers never recovered.
And you didn't think it could get worse after the 24-10 home loss to the pathetic Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
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