PITTSBURGH - There's no sense in further dissecting the Pittsburgh Steelers' loss to the San Diego Chargers, so let's take a broader view.
The Steelers have played badly in three of their last four games. They were fine in an unexpected win at Baltimore two weeks ago.
But they wrapped terrible games around that: The one in Cleveland on Thanksgiving weekend, and Sunday's stinker against the Chargers.
Before Cleveland, they needed an overtime field goal to beat a bad Kansas City team at home.
This isn't trending well, especially not when the two most recent losses have come because of apathetic efforts. It's even more disturbing that last Sunday's flatline came after veteran Brett Keisel delivered a pre-game talk exhorting the team to be diligent against San Diego.
If that had any effect, it didn't last beyond the time it took to run to the field from the locker room.
Three games remain, and they're all up for grabs. Sunday wiped out any thoughts of "automatic" wins. That Dec. 30 visit from the Browns should no longer be considered a sure thing.
Injuries have piled up, but every team has those issues at this point of the season. The Steelers need an attitude adjustment, and they'd better get to work on that immediately.
How about the Baltimore Ravens, with a 9-4 record and a very secure playoff position, firing offensive coordinator Cam Cameron with three games left in the regular season?
One of the by-products of NFL parity is an urgency to win now. Sacrificing assistant coaches during the season reflects that.
Going for it
The Kansas City Royals haven't had a winning season since 2003, and they're anxious to change that.
They traded a prime prospect, Wil Myers, in a deal with Tampa Bay that brought back pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis.
The Royals get immediate help, but they'll lose in the long run if Myers is as good as he's projected to be.
There's always a temptation to make trades for temporary help, but that's not the kind of deal a franchise like Kansas City can afford to make.
Even with the additions, the Royals aren't as good as the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox in the American League Central.
End of an era
The Sporting News announced it will no longer regularly produce a print publication, ending a 126-year history.
The brand name will continue with online content and annuals devoted to the major sports.
I have some thoughts about this on my blog, Mainly Mehno, at altoonamirror.com.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org