Just a few days ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers greatly bolstered their resume for AFC North contention by securing not only a quality victory over a tough opponent in the Indianapolis Colts, they also managed to stack wins for the first time this season.
As a matter of fact, the Steelers are two games above .500 for the first time since Week 13 of the 2012 season, when they were 7-5. They went on to lose the next three games before winning the season finale to finish at .500.
Beyond that, the victory that gave them back-to-back wins for the first time this season and two games over .500 for the first time in nearly two years was also achieved in historic fashion, and it’s had everybody talking since.
That was the game in which quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 522 yards on 40 of 49 passing for six touchdowns, while throwing no interceptions, nor even getting sacked. It was the first time in NFL history that a player threw for over 500 yards in multiple games. He was also just the second player to throw for more than five touchdowns in such a game.
There are many other intriguing facets of the historic performance that we could expend more time poring over in the coming days, weeks, even years, such as five years after Roethlisberger retires and we consider his candidacy for the Hall of Fame.
But come Sunday, that’s irrelevant. It’s Ravens Week.
And it’s not just Ravens Week. This is a very meaningful, and critical, game for the Steelers. The Baltimore Ravens are tied with the Steelers for second place in the division, with both sharing a 5-3 record. But the Ravens beat Pittsburgh head-to-head earlier this season—handily—while the Steelers have just a 1-2 division record.
The game this Sunday could be very telling, a tone setter for the remainder of the season. While the division-leading Cincinnati Bengals have an upcoming softball at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars, if the Steelers could advance to 6-3 with a victory over the Ravens, they will be in excellent position toward the end of the season to contend for the division title.
That’s because they still have two games left to play against the Bengals, in two of the last four games. If the Steelers are still in the hunt in the final quarter of the season, then they can be poised to grab the division and make it back to the playoffs.
But before we get to that point, the Steelers must let go of the recent happenings, as historic as they might be, forget about their recent success, and prevent themselves for looking ahead. They need to put the blinders on and simply focus on what’s directly in front of them.
And that would be a very meaningful Ravens Week.