* I know in my case I don't want to deal with the scathing hatred that comes with Steelers losses these days. but the team, particularly the coach, seemed extraordinarily tight against the Jaguars.
* Mike Tomlin was giving me flashbacks to 1997 when Bill Cowher nearly punched a Jaguar while he was running down the sideline with the blocked field goal that should've won the game for the Steelers in the final seconds.
* I have the distinct impression the Steelers needed that win yesterday to unblock themselves of a lack of self-confidence. If that wasn't the worst team in the NFL that they played, I could've envisioned a five or six-game losing streak starting with Tampa Bay.
* That's why Sunday's win was so important. Now, they go to Cleveland as an underdog -- I assume -- and can play a little more loosely, as underdogs can when they're starting to gain a little confidence.
* I understand why the Steelers were in a good spot. They were completely focused off an embarrassing loss and for the most part they were healthy. But that was a good spot for the Jaguars, too. They were home dogs, could play loosely, and to a degree could play competently in their rookie QB's third start.
* That rookie QB is developing more quickly than I had imagined when I repeatedly busted the chops of Draft Twitter for ignoring him amid their in-season chatter last year.
* Speaking of me knowing everything, I called Blake Bortles and Kelvin Benjamin the two most ignored studs during the last college season. We all know how well Benjamin played in the first month this season, but someone noted that he's off to a lousy start this month. I imagine it's because he's now the focal point as the only legitimate offensive threat in Carolina.
* But that wouldn't have been the case in Pittsburgh, where Benjamin would've been the perfect complement to Antonio Brown, and vice versa.
* Was Markus Wheaton's first-series drop and ensuing flat performance an indication that his groin was bothering him? Because that offense was lacking a second receiving threat Sunday.
* Love him one game, wonder about him the next. But I do believe Wheaton will be a legitimate playmaker. I also believe teams need three legitimate playmakers at WR and that one of them has to be tall.
* Steelers personnel folk laugh at that idea. But look at the two throws Ben Roethlisberger made to Brown that were uncatchable. Ben overthrew A.B. in the end zone and also on a critical throw to the sideline. Put a big man out there and those throws hit him in the facemask.
* It's an obvious note but one that's forgotten so often at every level in every sport: Big men make extraordinary feats appear ordinary. We all forget that sometimes when judging talent.
* I only make a big deal out of it because for all of the Steelers' supposed skilled talent on offense, there's still something lacking. The troubles in the red zone, again, make me believe it's a quality big man.
* And Heath Miller needs no introduction, but I wanted to give the others some credit for A.) Palmer catching his first touchdown pass with the Steelers, and B.) J. Brown taking a brutal blast from Josh Evans and hanging on to the ball.
* Roethlisberger went right back to Brown on the next play, and then again a few snaps later. I wonder if Justin remembers those two catches.
* So it's J. Brown and rookie Martavis Bryant in the running to become that valued big receiver in the grand scheme. It just doesn't incite my confidence all that much. Bryant has the athleticism, but appears lost most of the time.
* I keep whining about not drafting Benjamin, but trust me that I'm OK with the pick of Ryan Shazier. That kind of speed at that position is rare. I'm just whining because the offense isn't carrying the defense the way it should be, and the defense will be the one in need of off-season attention.
* I'm not that upset over 43 pass plays (counting sacks and QB scrambles) and 25 runs from the Steelers. I would've liked to have seen more run plays inside the 7-yard line (0 for 6), or even the entire red zone (0 for the game), but I understand why the Steelers wanted to attack that porous Jaguars secondary.
* One note on short-yardage: The fourth-and-1 call to fullback Will Johnson was poorly spotted, but it would've been made moot had he received a push from tailback LeGarrette Blount,the way the Jaguars' tailback helped Bortles finish his fourth-and-1 sneak that had been initially stopped.
* And what in the world was Dri Archer doing at tailback on the third-down sack from the Jacksonville 1?
* Not that he did anything wrong. It's just the fact that he was in the game. Why?
* Archer no doubt is lacking the confidence that comes from experience, but he's not showing much of his speed in his rare touches or his returns. In fact, he's looking as timid and easy to bring down as Chris Rainey.
* Ace Sanders looked more dangerous to me. Drafted as a return specialist two years ago by the Jaguars, the Steelers kept him in check whilst I held my breath thinking he was the wild card on this day for the Jags.
* The Steelers' coverage units are performing well. The return game is not, and that includes A. Brown.
* And ST captain Robert Golden added two more penalties to his expanding resume.
* We were wondering the other day why the Steelers suddenly axed punter Adam Podlesh from one of their reserve lists. Were they trying to give Brad Wing some comfort following his late-game shank the previous week? Or did they attempt to activate Podlesh and were rejected?
* By the time I find out, no one will care.
* Of course, the special teams were responsible for back-to-back offsides penalties on a kickoff, and that was the absolute last thing the uptight and penalty-conscious coaching staff wanted to see. Vince Williams was one of the offenders. He's also the guy who blasted the return man into Steelers orthopedic doctor Jim Bradley on the sideline to start the second half.
* Williams blows stuff up every time I watch him, has been since training camp. If Sean Spence can't get untracked as Shazier's replacement, moving Williams into the buck and Lawrence Timmons back to the mack has to be a strong consideration.
* I'm sure it's one the staff is hesitant to make, though, considering the communication problems that have been overcome since the start of the season.
* But the point is, this team needs a badass sheriff out there. Williams, as Tomlin told me during camp, is Bart Scott.
* It's always difficult to tell at his position, but Mike Mitchell appeared to have played a good game. That would be a critical step for the new free safety. Now he can advance beyond the rudimentary stage and begin making some plays.
* Brice McCain made me look good on Twitter, and that's everything to a journalist these days. But after his pick-6 I thought more about the day at training camp when he heard only part of my conversation with the PR staff. And when the PR staff pointed to McCain and said, "No, he's nobody" -- as in he's not one of the five unknown players I had requested -- McCain, I was told, later said to that staffer, "Hey, I'm going to be somebody some day."
* And that day was Sunday.
* I didn't care when Roethlisberger went out of his way to get Hines Ward his 1,000th catch, and I don't really care about him helping Antonio Brown get his 21st consecutive 5-catch/50-yard game. I saw the play, read Roethlisberger's explanation, how it was safe and approved by the staff, and I'm satisfied.
* Some, I'm sure, are having violent rectal conniptions about it today.
* Speaking of which, it's off to Cleveland, and likely as an underdog for the first time since 2003, when they won as 3-point dogs, 13-6.
* The Steelers went into that game with a 3-7 record. The finished 3-3 and springboarded into a 15-1 2004. Since this one is early in the season, here's hoping for a similar effect.