The Pittsburgh Steelers are 0-3 for the first time in the Mike Tomlin era, and the first time since 2000. They finished that season 9-7 and missed the playoffs. That could very well be their fate in 2013, unless something drastically changes.
The 2013 Season is getting away from the Steelers.
Since the current playoff format was introduced in the 1990 season, only two teams have played in the playoffs after starting the season 0-3. The 1992 San Diego Chargers—Started 0-4, finished the season at 11-5, won the AFC West—and the 1998 Buffalo Bills, who finished 10-6. It’s even more of a daunting task if you go farther back in the record books. Since 1978, only five teams have made the NFL Playoffs after starting the season 0-3, according to STATS.
If the Steelers miss the playoffs, it will be for the second season in a row, third time in the Mike Tomlin era. But if the Steelers are going to save their season and gain respect, they’ll have to do it with an aging defense and the right arm of Ben Roethlisberger.
Ben Roethlisberger via twitter.com/@steelers
The Steelers finally found some offense Sunday night against the Chicago Bears. Roethlisberger passed 41 times completing 26 for 406 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Even with the running game struggling to only gain 80 yards, they were effective against a stout defense. It’s not the total yards that tell the whole story. There were several big runs by Johnathan Dwyer that helped spark scoring drives. The team that was only averaging 10 points a game, managed to score 23 points.
Problem is they turned the ball over 5 times—2 of them returned for touchdowns—handing the Chicago Bears 23 points.
As I watched this team last night, it’s clear they’ll have to rely on Roethlisberger to win any games. Traditional Steeler football of ground and pound has to sit on the sidelines this season.
The return of Tight End Heath Miller will help a great deal. Miller missed the first two games recovering from knee surgery. He made an immediate impact against the Bears (3 receptions, 35 yards) and should be more like himself as he continues to shake off the rust.
If Roethlisberger can take care of the ball and the offensive line can keep him standing up – He was sacked 3 times, hit another 6 vs. Chicago – they can get back on the winning track. Problem is, will it be too little, too late?
The Defense continues to play Steeler football, despite being the oldest in the NFL. They controlled the second and third quarters to allow the offense to pull within four points with over three minutes to go.
The D’s biggest problem so far this season is they’re not getting to the quarterback. They only sacked Jay Cutler 2 times and in three games, still haven’t forced their opponents into a turnover. If they can create some turnovers to set up the struggling offense, that should also jump start a turn around.
Even at 0-3, the Steelers are only 2 games back of first place in the division, with 5 games left against divisional opponents.
Another good thing for the Steelers is their next opponent is the Minnesota Vikings, who are dealing with their own woes after losing to the “tanking Cleveland Browns.” The sad part is, the NFL has to be embarrassed that the two teams in their international showcase are 0-for. Not good for building a fan base.