There’s nothing like home cooking, but the Pittsburgh Steelers have had no problem feasting on the road over the course of the past two years, either. As you’ve probably heard in recent weeks, the Steelers have a 14-1-1 record in their past 16 road games dating back to 2016, a fact that I believe I was the first to note.
Teresa Varley went around the team’s locker room recently getting players’ reaction to that statistic, none of whom seemed to realize that was the case. Their last loss came in Week Three of the 2017 season in overtime against the Chicago Bears. This season, they are 3-0-1 so far, hoping to better their 7-1 record from a season ago with four more wins.
The next up is the Jacksonville Jaguars, who beat the Steelers twice in Heinz Field last year, but they are only 3-6 this season, including a 2-3 record at home with wins over the New England Patriots all the way back in Week Two and the New York Jets in Week Four.
While he said he had no idea they had such a road record (which began before he was with the team), Mike Hilton said that it was ”a good sign, going to different hostile environments and coming out with a lot of big wins. That’s big for the team’s demeanor and chemistry. We know we are going into a hostile environment on Sunday and we know it’s going to be a good one so we have to be prepared”.
Still, the general consensus was that there is no secret to having success in hostile environments. Hilton said that on the road you are “going against the team, the fans, and the whole environment”, and that “you have to be prepared for the worst and expect the best”, Maurkice Pouncey was clear that there is no “mystical [chant] that we got in the huddle”.
Safety Sean Davis told that Head Coach Mike Tomlin does stress to his players that it doesn’t matter where you play. “He always tells us location can’t be a determining factor”, he told Varley. “That we just have to take care of ball no matter the location. When we step across the white line, we are there for one thing and one thing only, to get a ‘dub’”.
Over the course of Ben Roethlisberger’s tenure with the team, the Steelers have always seemed to play their best whenever they have had something to rally together behind and create an us versus them mentality. Playing on the road is an extension of that, and they have obviously been doing it well, posting a .906 winning percentage over a season’s worth of games.
“When we are on the road, we know if we have each other that is all we need”, Davis said in summation. “We are fine with that”.