All the goodwill and optimism provided by a perfect preseason vanished for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the harsh reality of their regular-season opener.
Kenny Pickett and the Steelers offense, which had stoked expectations after scoring on each of their preseason drives, were rag-dolled in a Week 1 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers, 30-7 — the most lopsided home defeat in the Mike Tomlin era.
While the 49ers emerged looking every bit like an NFC Super Bowl contender, the Steelers limped away from Acrisure Stadium looking like preseason pretenders.
“We accept responsibility obviously for the outcome,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said after the game, via the team website. “We compliment those guys on the quality of work that they did. We absorb the negativity that comes with how we performed today, and we go back to work. We’ve got to prepare them better. They’ve got to play better. That’s just the reality of it.
“We got kicked in the teeth today in a lot of ways.”