June 23, 2024

Steelers Can Probably Kiss Playoffs Goodbye After Back-to-Back Embarrassing Losses | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

Steelers QB Mitch Trubisky

Steelers QB Mitch TrubiskyJoe Sargent/Getty Images

Every week after struggling a shocking 24-10 loss to the visiting Arizona Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Steelers had been broadly anticipated to bounce again in opposition to the New England Patriots. They misplaced 21-18, and what’s worse, they had been fairly far out of it for many of the recreation.

When the postseason begins in slightly over a month, the Steelers may be out of that too.

Did anybody anticipate Pittsburgh to dominate? Perhaps not with backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky beginning within the wake of Kenny Pickett’s ankle surgical procedure. However, the Steelers had been at dwelling, accountable for the AFC’s prime wild-card spot and taking part in a two-win Patriots workforce that has seemed as rudderless as any workforce within the league.

Instead of profitable an in depth, gritty recreation, Pittsburgh misplaced it. Trubisky (22-of-35 for 190 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) made the errors many may have anticipated, whereas the protection made Patriots backup Bailey Zappe appear like Tom Brady for a lot of the competition.

The Steelers fell right into a 21-3 gap and by no means managed to climb out of it.

The loss signifies that the Steelers have misplaced consecutive dwelling video games to two-win groups—one thing that might have been an unfathomable truth two weeks in the past, when Pittsburgh was 7-4.

Josh Martin @JoshMartin33

Question: Has any workforce misplaced back-to-back dwelling video games to 2-10 groups? <br>Curious to know if the Steelers are on the cusp of historical past or not.

Even more unbelievable is the fact that no team with a winning record has ever experienced the low that the Steelers just did.

The loss also means that Pittsburgh is on the verge of bidding adieu to a playoff berth. Yes, the Steelers are still sitting at 7-6, and there are worse places to be in early December. However, they’re trending in the wrong direction, and fast.

It’s not hard to blame Pickett’s injury, which he suffered against Arizona. However, the proverbial ship sprung its first alarming leak in Week 11, when the Steelers lost to the Cleveland Browns.

After Pickett was outplayed by fifth-round rookie and backup quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, the team fired offensive coordinator Matt Canada.

“It’s my role to absorb and protect those that I work with,” head coach Mike Tomlin said, per ESPN’s Brooke Pryor. “This doesn’t feel like that. I’m not assigning blame or deflecting in any way. … Just rest assured that this decision was not taken lightly.”

The actuality is that the offense wasn’t ok or artistic sufficient with Canada calling the performs—not with standouts like George Pickens, Diontae Johnson, Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris within the lineup.

Tomlin did a positive sufficient job of conserving the workforce collectively, leaning on his protection and piecing collectively wins, however the offense wanted to discover a jolt if Pittsburgh wished to be a critical contender.

Interim coordinator Eddie Faulkner and interim play-caller Mike Sullivan have not been a lot better. They did assist produce Pittsburgh’s first 400-yard recreation within the Week 12 win over the Cincinnati Bengals—and their backup quarterback, Jake Browning—however the offense put a mere 16 factors on the board.

That hasn’t been the one concern, because the protection has began to indicate cracks over the previous couple of weeks. Last week, the Cardinals bodily imposed their will on Pittsburgh early and usually. Arizona completed with 150 speeding yards, with former Steeler James Conner accounting for 105 of them and two touchdowns.

That recreation featured two prolonged climate delays that appeared to sap the combat from Pittsburgh. But it did not have the identical impact on Arizona.

On Thursday, Zappe spent the vast majority of the primary half poking holes within the Steelers secondary.

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

BAILEY ZAPPE DOT TO HUNTER HENRY 🎯<br><br>(by way of <a href=”https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@NFL</a>) <a href=”https://t.co/B8y9PZk24T”>pic.twitter.com/B8y9PZk24T</a>

Zappe, making only his second start of the season, finished the first half 14-of-21 for 196 yards and three touchdowns.

The Steelers did perform better in the second half, using a Mykal Walker interception and a blocked punt that set up a Trubisky rushing touchdown and a two-point conversion to climb within three points. That’s as close as they would come.

The fight we saw from Pittsburgh in the second half is why this team can still make a push for the postseason. The lack of effort and slew of mistakes we saw last week and for most of the first two quarters on Thursday is why they might not.

Again, a Patriots team that scored 13 total points over the last three games scored 21 in the first half. That’s simply too many points for a team with this many offensive issues to overcome.

For the moment, the Steelers have fallen below the 7-5 Browns, Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts in the wild-card race. The playoff picture is currently as follows:

  • 1. Miami Dolphins 9-3
  • 2. Baltimore Ravens 9-3
  • 3. Kansas City Chiefs 8-4
  • 4. Jacksonville Jaguars 8-4
  • 5. Cleveland Browns 7-5
  • 6. Indianapolis Colts 7-5
  • 7. Houston Texans 7-5

The 7-6 Steelers, 6-6 Denver Broncos, 6-6 Cincinnati Bengals and 6-6 Buffalo Bills are also in the mix. The Colts and Bengals play each other this week, but staying ahead of the other teams in the hunt is going to be a challenge for Pittsburgh.

The defense hasn’t been consistent enough, and the offense continues to make baffling choices—Pickens was rarely targeted downfield and finished with 19 yards on five catches. Pickett’s injury won’t help matters. Neither will the neck injury No. 2 pass-rusher Alex Highsmith suffered on Thursday.

The road ahead is extremely daunting too. The Steelers have just one home game left, against the Bengals in Week 16. They’ll visit the Colts next week and finish with road games against the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens.

Every one of Pittsburgh’s remaining opponents currently sits at .500 or better. Three of those games are on the road. If the Steelers can’t beat teams like Arizona and New England at home, posting a winning record down the stretch feels unlikely at best.

Even if the Steelers go .500 the rest of the way, they’ll finish at 9-8. That would maintain Tomlin’s streak of not having a losing season, but nine wins probably isn’t making the postseason.

Consider the fact that the Browns, Broncos, Colts and Texans all face remaining schedules that are easier than average over the ultimate 5 weeks. At this level, the chances merely aren’t in Pittsburgh’s favor—and the Steelers have nobody however themselves in charge.

True contenders beat the groups they’re presupposed to. Had the Steelers carried out that over the previous two weeks, they’d be 9-4 and very a lot alive within the AFC North race. Instead, they completed flat in Week 13, began flat in Week 14 and now need assistance simply to get into the dance.