Ben Roethlisberger has never been better than 3-0 to start a season before this year—and the year they most recently started 3-0, he was serving a four-game suspension to begin the year. The Pittsburgh Steelers also got off to a 3-0 start in head coach Mike Tomlin’s first season in 2007.
Now, they are off to a 6-0 start in 2020, which is one game shy of matching a franchise record for the longest winning streak to start a season. Of course, they have a long way to go to match their longest winning streak overall, as they did win 14 straight games in 2004 to ride out that regular season.
But it still feels good to be 6-0, which remains a relatively rare accomplishment. As I write this, the Steelers are the only team to reach that mark this year, and the Seattle Seahawks are the only other one with a chance if they beat the Arizona Cardinals tonight. And even though the game ended a little too close for comfort, you better believe they’re going to appreciate the win, and the five that came before it.
“It feels good. Obviously you want to be in this spot”, Roethlisberger said after the game. “You want to have these wins when you can. Obviously a lot of these games have been at home, which you expect to win, but to go on the road twice, and to come here, to an AFC team that’s undefeated as well, and play them, it feels really good”.
Their opponents today were, of course, the only other team in the AFC who entered the week undefeated, that being the Tennessee Titans, who played the Steelers down to the wire. They crawled back to within a field goal thanks to a 17-point unanswered run in the second half and came to within a missed 45-yard field goal from sending it into overtime.
Now, however, they are coming off of their most physical game of the season and preparing to face a 5-1 Baltimore Ravens team, on the road, that is not only rested, but which has also added another premium pass rusher to make their defense even deadlier than it already is. Roethlisberger knows they can suddenly find themselves in second place in a flash, even after building six wins in six weeks.
“We know what’s coming up next week”, he said. “Throw the records and all the other stuff out the window, because we’ve got a team coming off a bye that’s one of the best in football”.
The only game the Ravens have lost this season has been to the Kansas City Chiefs, who themselves have lost just one game on the season. Whoever wins this game will have a key advantage in the race for the AFC North—though it may mean more for Baltimore, who is one game back and about to play their half of the home-road series split. The Steelers will still get the Ravens at home later this year to get even if they lose.