It had been quite a while—not since last season—that the Pittsburgh Steelers were last able to put up at least 30 points in a game, until Thursday night. In fact, they were even able to put up 40 points, which was virtually double what they were averaging per game up to that point.
Following that showing, players seem more willing to discuss their success and the potential for more. Or at least reporters felt it was a more prescient topic to badger them with questions about. And Ed Bouchette was able to get some answers out of the Steelers yesterday in the locker room.
‘Hope’ seemed to be a key word thrown around. “I hope so”, said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger when asked if their showing against the Titans was a sign of things to come. “I know everyone’s talking about we feel we have potential, we’re on the verge. I agree”.
“I really hope so”, his center, Maurkice Pouncey, one-upped, “because we’ve got the talent to do that”. As we saw on Thursday, some days all you really need is Roethlisberger, some pass protection, and Antonio Brown being given some opportunities to make plays. After all, he single-handedly outscored the Titans.
Pouncey also struck the same note as Roethlisberger about ‘potential’. Asked if he feels the offense is beginning to hit its stride, he asked in return, “none of us have seen it yet, have we?”, and to be fair, he’s not wrong: we haven’t seen it. Not even in that 40-point game. “I mean, let’s be real”.
But the All-Pro center seemed to have justification for believing what he said, “one hundred percent”, by the way. “We’re hitting it right now. We’re having fewer mistakes we all want the games to be perfect, go out there and have a great rush game and a great pass game and everything works. We’re working on it”.
Starting by making fewer mistakes would be a good place, because as we have talked about a number of times this season, it seems to be often the case that this group is just one small mistake or miss here and there from really putting things together.
Yes, a very large portion of it has simply to do with Roethlisberger playing better. We saw on Friday what this offense could look like if he played better. His performance was easily his best of the season, by a large margin, in terms of the throws he made and the mistakes he didn’t.
But this is and has long been a confident group. They didn’t need to see the results in order to validate the belief in their abilities. “We’ve had faith, we believe in ourselves”, Roethlisberger said. “We know we can do it. Now that it happened, maybe it’ll just keep snowballing”.