It hasn’t been pretty at times, but the Pittsburgh Steelers have managed to compile a 7-4 record heading into their long-awaited bye week.
The Steelers showed a lot of character Monday night in overcoming a 24-13 third quarter deficit as they smartly rode the hot hand of running back Le’Veon Bell in the second half, but their continued inconsistency on both sides of the football certainly needs to be fixed if they are going to make a run at the playoffs.
Help on defense might be on the way, however, as the team likely hopes to get cornerback Ike Taylor, safety Troy Polamalu, nose tackle Steve McLendon and rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier all back from injuries when they host the New Orleans Saints in Week 13. The ultimate return of outside linebacker Jarvis Jones is also looming at some point after the bye.
We’ve seen how dominant that the Steelers offense can be at times this season, but the fails inside the red zone have to come to an end. They’ve been able to move the football this season between the twenties, so that’s encouraging.
As for the Steelers defense, they have to get better play from their secondary moving forward and perhaps the return of several injured players will help in that area. Monday night they gave up five explosive plays of 20 yards or more to a Titans team that has struggled in that area all season. They’re stopping the run better, so that’s something to build on.
While there was some pressure put on Titans rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger Monday night, he wasn’t sacked. They also made seldom-used tight end Chase Coffman look like an every-down player.
Despite all of the woes listed above, the Steelers are 7-4 and that’s something that can’t be overlooked. They beat a team Monday night that they were supposed to beat and that’s what the narrative should be this week. Almost losses still count as wins.
The bye week is finally here and the Steelers are currently the sixth seed in the AFC heading into Week 12. They control their own destiny right now and there’s something to be said about that despite how ugly they’ve looked at times this season.