Beggars can’t be choosers, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have been beggars in 2019 for quite a while already at this point. That kind of comes with the territory when you start the season with three consecutive losses, and post a 1-4 record. It doesn’t matter how they win or who they win against, a win is a win is a win.
And the Steelers got themselves a win yesterday, in fact their third win in as many games. This one does come slightly differently, as it is the first time this season that they have beaten a team with a winning record, although the Los Angeles Chargers, whom they have previously beaten, are climbing and now 4-5 after a two-game winning streak, beating the Green Bay Packers handily yesterday.
“In our current state, every game is huge”, quarterback Mason Rudolph said. “We believe we can get right back in this mix, in the playoff hunt as well as in the division. Every one is key. Given where we started, when we’re back against the wall, we’ve played good, and there’s an added energy and passion to our guys, and I think we feel that and we rally to that fact that our back’s against the wall. Every game counts”.
Ideally, you wouldn’t need that added motivation of having no margin for error, but that’s where the Steelers find themselves halfway through the year, still on the outside looking in with respect to the playoff race, even though they have been climbing.
Having beaten the Indianapolis Colts yesterday, dropping them to 5-3, they went from the projected two seed to the six seed, and the Steelers are now just a game behind them, with the head-to-head tiebreaker, for the final playoff spot. They got the last spot over Pittsburgh last year, as you’ll recall.
Rudolph’s comments were made before the Baltimore Ravens took down the New England Patriots. Otherwise their chances of winning the division would look a lot better. Had they lost, the Steelers would actually have regained control of their own destiny: win out and you make the playoffs. Now, they still need the Ravens to lose one more game before the rematch in the finale, and win that, too.
“Obviously, records matter, and we know that we had beaten a couple of teams with not the best records in the world, but every single one matters”, Rudolph said about notching a win against a winning team. “We’ll take it. These are good teams…You cannot take any one lightly, especially in our current state. You’ve got to prepare like it’s the Super Bowl every week, and that’s how we treat it”.
The Steelers’ next Super Bowl sees them hose the Los Angeles Rams for the end of a three-game homestand, after which they have a pivotal row of division games against the Cleveland Browns (twice) and the Cincinnati Bengals. While they have combined for just two wins on the season, the Steelers certainly can’t afford to take them lightly.