The Pittsburgh Steelers’ victory yesterday over the Indianapolis Colts had plenty of history to it to last a lifetime, and a seemingly endless cascade of statistics to pore over, but the most important stat to come out of the historic day was this: the Steelers won, and they did so in back-to-back weeks for the first time this year.
The Steelers finally broke the cycle that began on opening day of trading wins and losses, which lasted through the first seven weeks of this 2014 season en route to a 4-3 record.
And that was after a season of nothing but streaks, beginning with four consecutive losses and ending with two strings of three-game win streaks sandwiched between a pair of losses.
But the Steelers have their first streak of any kind this year, and it’s mercifully in the win column. And that streak will have to continue as they look to remain squarely in the AFC North division race, as the Baltimore Ravens—also 5-3 after losing yesterday—come to town.
The Ravens blew the Steelers out on a short week on the road in Week Two during a miserable 26-6 defeat, the only game in the last 37 for Pittsburgh in which Ben Roethlisberger failed to throw a touchdown pass.
He made up for that yesterday with six of them against the Colts to win a shootout by the score of 51-34 that at one point became an eight-point game midway through the fourth quarter with the Steelers on defense.
The tides turned when the Colts were pinned back on their own five-yard line. On second down, Andrew Luck stumbled over his center and landed butt-first on his own goal line. He tried to throw the ball away from his seat, but was flagged for intentional grounding, which resulted in a safety, and a finale shift of momentum.
It took a historic performance from the Steelers, which saw five different targets catch at least five passes for at least 50 yards, to topple the Colts and win consecutive games for the first time this season. Let’s just hope it won’t take such a Herculean effort to keep that streak going on Sunday.
Unfortunately for Roethlisberger and the offense, the defense has simply not been good for much of this season, and is giving up 24.5 points per game. It’s even worse at home, where they’d surrendered nearly 28 points per game.
But on the bright side—and thanks in large part to the 51-point demolition yesterday—the team has thrived on home soil in terms of scoring, averaging almost 34 points per game. That includes William Gay’s pick six yesterday.
That bodes well for this Sunday, but if the Steelers want to ride the wave of victory, they’re going to have to figure out how to take this offensive show on the road as well. But for now, there’s time left to enjoy this past historic victory.