The Steelers are coming off their fourth straight loss. The AFC North is not the powerhouse it once was with teams struggling to get around .500. Let’s see where the Steelers stand.
The Steelers are in a hole now. They just can’t make it easy on themselves. The problem is not injuries, or not all injuries anyway, the problem is their inability to consistently play to their potential. The problem is their tendency to lose to teams they’re supposed to beat and end up desperate at the end of the season.
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The Steelers have the talent to beat any of the best teams, they’re just not mentally up to the task of beating the worst teams. Whatever the reason, a team many considered favored to win it all early on now have to almost win out just to make the playoffs. They’ve done it before, and they can do it again, aided by a weak AFC North, but it’s got to be disconcerting for Steelers fans.
Anyway, here we go.
So the Ravens played the Browns last week. They won that game and are therefore, in terms of record, the top team in the AFC North. They still aren’t a good team. They’re barely over .500 and have not played a strong team throughout the season. Easy schedule aside, what matters is winning, against good or bad teams, and they’ve done that more than not.
The Browns were actually winning at halftime but as we’ve seen so often this season they start to fall apart. Flacco ended up with 3 touchdowns and almost 300 yards, but 2 interceptions. The defense had 4 sacks and forced 3 turnovers. The defense is rock solid but the offense can basically only do one thing, that being throwing a long pass.
The Steelers lost … again. It was one of those games that was great for every football fan but the ones for the team that loses. Lead changes galore. The Steelers lost to a good opponent. It happens. Their problem is they lose to the bad ones too. They’re still probably the best team in the AFC North, but out of spite I place them second.
Ben had a big game, throwing over 400 yards with 3 touchdowns. Antonio Brown had 154 yards and a touchdown. Eli Rogers and Jesse James continue to be valuable contributors. Le’Veon Bell his usual 100+ yards. The defense had their moments but ultimately could not do anything to stop Ezekiel Elliot or Dez Bryant.
The Bengals went down against the Giants. This was a great game as well. The Giants came away with the last touchdown however and took it by a point. It was a solid effort. The Bengals are certainly struggling this season. The Ravens are probably worse than their record, but the Steelers and Bengals are better than their record. But as the saying goes, almost doesn’t count.
The defense did ok, only 1 sack but they did force 2 interceptions. Eli Manning did throw 3 touchdowns though. They didn’t really stop the run and Beckam had a good game. The offense was largely held in check though. AJ Green only had 68 yards, though also a touchdown. Tyler Eifert had a great game, though the ground game didn’t show much. Mixed game.
As was stated earlier the Browns started off well. They managed to score and the defense held the Ravens back. But the patented try to throw a long pass technique stuck a couple times and the Browns dual quarterback style once again failed to produce on offense. That’s 10 straight losses this season, and basically this entirety of this century of Browns fans wondering who the QB and coach will be next year.
The defense did fine. They got a couple picks and a couple sacks. The offense just didn’t do anything though. McCown got pulled after 2 interceptions and a pair of fumbles. Kessler did better, and by better I mean 91 yards. They might as well see who is in free agency. Michael Vick’s out there. Why not try Pryor at QB? They’ve already got the first pick practically locked. 1-15 won’t hurt that.
Next week the Steelers play the Browns. The Ravens face off against the Cowboys and the Bengals face the Bills. There should be a tie up top next week. There Steelers can definitely win 6 of their next 7 games. But as we’ve seen against many weak opponents, though not as weak as the Browns, can and should are just words. Time to once again take control late in the season.