Pittsburgh Steelers fans are celebrating today after pulling to 4-4 through the halfway point of the season. It’s a rare thing in the city for a team that is very much used to winning, still, I believe, owners of the best winning percentage since the merger. But when that 4-4 record is earned with three straight wins, and a 4-1 record over the last five, there is some reason to celebrate that, because it means you’re moving forward.
“It’s good to be .500 at the turn early in the week, given where we’ve come from”, head coach Mike Tomlin said in his post-game remarks to the media. “It’s gonna still be a while. We’ll work forever trying to get that September stench off of us, but that’s life in this thing. I appreciate the effort and fight. It’s good to be sitting at 4-4, and I never thought I’d hear myself say that”.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 3, 2019
I think a lot of Steelers fans are expressing a similar sentiment right now, but 4-4 is looking pretty good right now, all things considered, putting themselves now one game back for a playoff spot. The Indianapolis Colts are now in the sixth-seed spot at 5-3, dropping from the two seed, and with Pittsburgh 4-4, they also have the head-to-head tiebreaker.
And it could get even better if the New England Patriots beat the Baltimore Ravens, which would drop them to 5-3 on the season and just a game ahead of the Steelers. While Baltimore has the head-to-head tiebreaker, that would put the focus on the season finale rematch between the two teams. If Pittsburgh can retain a better division record, which they currently have at 2-1, they could win the division with an even record with the Ravens if they can win in the finale.
Who is this team though, really? The Colts are the first quality opponent that they have been able to beat, even though they have played other quality teams—the Ravens, the Seattle Seahawks, and the San Francisco 49ers—tough as well. They eked out a victory in this one with some good fortune, including a last-minute missed field goal.
Next up is the Los Angeles Rams for the final game in a three-game homestand before they play three games against the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals in a row. This is a very important, crucial string of four games, in which they absolutely have to come out 3-1 or better, in order to retain their candidacy for the postseason.
They’ve put themselves in position over the past three games to fight for this opportunity. Now that it’s out in front of them, what will they do with it? How much of that stench will they be able to wash away.