No matter how much you accomplish, there always seems as if there is more that can be done to get better. And until the final game of the season is played, the work toward improvement never stops. The Pittsburgh Steelers might have wiped the floor with the Carolina Panthers, 52-21, in their last game, but neither of their top captains are getting complacent.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who led scoring drives on each of his seven meaningful possessions, including six touchdowns, said after the game, “we’re playing some pretty good football right now, but there are more plays we can make”.
He did add that they punted the football twice, though both punts came with Joshua Dobbs, B.J. Finney, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jaylen Samuels, Chukwuma Okorafor, and others constituting their offense in the final 10 minutes of the game once Roethlisberger and company had already put things to bed.
Cameron Heyward, who recorded his first two-sack game of the year, got on himself and his group for allowing 21 points, 14 of which came on explosive plays off of wheel routes to running back Christian McCaffrey, including on the opening drive.
“We still gave it up to the running back in the flat a couple times”, he lamented, so “there are things we can improve”. While he allowed for a game in which they “played pretty well”, he did say that he thinks “we have to get better at a couple of things”.
The coaching staff will have a few extra days to prepare to get things right for their next opponent, since they are coming off a Thursday game. And by the way, one shouldn’t forget the historically lopsided nature of many Thursday games, which usually puts the road team at a disadvantage.
Up next is a road trip down south to face the Jacksonville Jaguars, who were able to beat the Steelers twice at Heinz Field. The last time that happened was in 2007—when the Jaguars did it in Mike Tomlin’s first season as a head coach.
Perhaps one of the reasons that the team’s offensive and defensive leaders are not taking this result, and their five-game winning streak, for anything more than it is is simply because they have been here several times before. They have gotten those blowout results amid extended winning streaks, but that doesn’t make anybody unbeatable.
There is still work to be done, and you know that Roethlisberger and Heyward will keep at their peers to make sure that they don’t forget it. They are not just captains by title but by deed as well, a huge part of the nucleus of this team’s culture and personality, both on and off the field.