Steelers beat up on Cincinnati like it was the late 90s and 2000s. Photo Courtesy: Steelers.com
Is it 2008? You know, when the Steelers went on to win Super Bowl XLIII after going 13-3 behind a historically stifling defense and a well balanced offense. It sure looked like it on Sunday Night.
The moment the Steelers tackled Cincinnati Bengals punter Kevin Huber at the two yard line after he fumbled the snap, Steeler Nation had to assume it was going to be a good night. As the Black and Gold continues to fight and cling to their slim playoff hopes, it just makes you wonder in agony what could’ve been.
The offense is clicking. Ben Roethlisberger started the game hitting on his first 11 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown to Antonio Brown to rush out to a 24 point first half lead. The offensive line is protecting Roethlisberger better. He was sacked only once. Heck, even Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley looked like a play calling genius.
Antonio Brown’s punt return for a TD gave the Steelers a 21-0 1st quarter lead. Photo Courtesy: Steelers.com
The defense had a throwback Steel Curtain-like night, holding the Bengals to 4-14 on third down and only 57 yards rushing. They looked REAL good throughout the first three quarters before taking their foot off the gas pedal in the fourth, allowing Cincinnati to get within two possessions of tying the game.
The Key to the win over Cincy was special teams, who busted the game open with Antonio Brown’s punt return for a touchdown and a 21-0 first quarter lead.
Now in addition to rooting for Pittsburgh, Steeler fans have to become adopted fans of the opponents of the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins and the San Diego Chargers in the next two weeks. Those teams losing are the only shot Steeler fans have at avoiding a second season ending after 16 games.
If they make the playoffs, I don’t think Pittsburgh has any shot of going on a historic sixth seeded run like they did in 2006 and winning a Super Bowl. But, after the way the season began and how it’s shaping up, it would be nice to see them get a shot.
Although, the fact they haven’t quit is enough for me. It proves this organization is exactly who they say they are. The Standard. Most teams that start 0-4, fall farther into abyss and turn into 2-14 or 3-13 teams that earn top three draft picks. Not the Steelers, they don’t quit. That’s why they have a record, six Vince Lombardi trophies.
All the teams who want to be consistently mentioned amongst the NFLs elite—Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins, New York Giants I’m talking to you—take note, this is how you finish a season when you’ve been riddled with early season setbacks.