The Pittsburgh Steelers' 0-3 start to the 2019 campaign has been a comprehensive failure in every facet.
The offense can't run the ball, with James Conner averaging 2.9 yards per tote, they've struggled to pass the pigskin more than a yard downfield consistently, and somehow a once good offensive line has looked like a collection of dusty turnstiles. The defense can't stop a soul, allowing 28.3 points per game -- ranked 28th in the league -- 442.0 yards per game (302.7 yards passing; 139.3 yards rushing), giving up a 47.4 percent third-down conversion rate, and 10 TDs total given up this season. The coaching has been abysmal. But, hey! Chris Boswell hasn't missed yet, so they've got that going. Swell.
A season that was supposed to be one of rebirth after the "distractions" were removed has begun with the loudest NFL distraction of them all: losing. Will the failing bring back some of the in-house complaining?
Not if Cam Heyward has anything to say about it.
"It's easy not to point the finger," Heyward said, via the team's official website. "You look at our tape, there are mistakes everywhere. For any guy pointing the finger, I'll break their finger if they do."
The team leader knows that going 0-3 takes a complete collapse, which all parties are complicit in thus far.
Since playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990, just four teams have made the playoffs after an 0-3 start, the latest being the 2018 Houston Texans.
It's clear from player comments Tuesday that coach Mike Tomlin -- whose seat is getting scorching hot -- has preached focusing on winning their division games, in hopes of that being enough to overcome the poor start to the season. Those division tilts begin Monday against the similarly 0-3 Cincinnati Bengals.
"We just have to get this 'W,'" Heyward said. "That's all it comes down to. I don't care how it gets done, it has to get done. Our execution has to be flawless from here on out. Our room for error is out the window. We have to be perfect in everything we do, especially in practice. It's my job to keep us accountable. It's my job to keep guys ready for the opportunity. Both teams are 0-3 but one team is going to be 1-3 after this game.
"These next two weeks are very important. The road is right in front of us. We don't have to hope and pray for anybody to do it for us. We play each team twice in our division and we can gain ground that way. That is all we have to focus on."
The road for the Steelers is a tough, nearly vertical climb with no more room for stumbles. As they trek that treacherous terrain, there isn't a free hand to finger-point blame for why they're in this precarious place.