Steelers vs. Eagles recap: Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount provide distraction as Steelers sleep walk through loss

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It was all too apparent by the 2nd quarter that the Pittsburgh Steelers were quite confused and uninterested in their game vs. Philadelphia on Thursday and JP has a good idea what provided the spark to losing it.

Sports are a mental and physical challenge.  You can't have just one in order to succeed.

God can bless you with athletic ability, speed, skill, hand-eye coordination and all the other attributes that athletes have the world over that make them successful.  These key elements are necessary in order to be great at sports.

But if your head isn't in the game. If you lack the mental prowess that sports challenges you with, all those physical gifts you possess won't amount to a hill of beans.

It's amazing the impact two guys can have on a large group of co-workers when they make such a terrible decision like smoking weed on the way to work.

In a 31-21 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday at Lincoln Financial Field, the Pittsburgh Steelers sleepwalked, stumbled and stunk in a game that wasn't even close.  It was a completely different performance from less than a week ago when the team's offense powered to a pair of 1st quarter TD's vs. the Bills 1st team.

Last night however, the Black and Gold showed little interest in their jobs.  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger didn't seem so sharp.  The offensive line wasn't effective.  The defense...well...they were bad all night long.

It makes you wonder what made this team play like they was distracted. Like they had their minds on something other than the game.  Hmmmm....

Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount should be ashamed of themselves not only for making the poor decision to smoke weed while driving (presumably) to the team's charter flight to Philly on Wednesday, but to get caught in the process and make headlines most people would rather avoid.

The city was abuzz for 24 hours leading up the team's 3rd and most critical pre-season game.  You know, the one where it's considered a 'dress rehearsal' for the the regular season.  The one that the starters play at least a half of football in to gauge how far they have come from the previous season and what indicates how far they need to go to improve.

As millennials would say, this was an epic fail.

I won't place all the blame on Bell & Blount for what took place at the Link, but some of what happened had to do with what those two did. Blount made the flight, but was late and delayed the departure time.  Bell had to come on his own. Don't tell me that didn't sit well with teammates, coaches and ownership.

And don't tell me this team played like it didn't have what took place 24 hours prior on it's mind.  Head coach Mike Tomlin spoke about the two and their impact after last night's game.

"We are aware of it obviously," Tomlin stated afterwards. "That conduct is detrimental to our efforts. They’ll be dealt with appropriately. From my perspective, in terms of their participation tonight, I didn’t view it as punishment to send them home to be quite honest with you, to not play in this preseason game."

Both Bell & Blount apologized to reporters in the locker room, but really, the damage had been done.  Now this team faces a week of further distractions leading up to their final pre-season tilt vs. Carolina next Thursday. It's a shame that they now must face this mental roadblock in addition to all the other challenges ahead.

Winning in the NFL isn't easy. It's harder when your focus is turned to other distractions not related to football.

John Phillips is a radio personality for 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh and a columnist for Behind The Steel Curtain. Check him out on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

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