It had been more than 40 years since the last time the Pittsburgh Steelers began a season 4-0 or better before they managed to do it this year. In fact, they had only done so three times prior to 2020. And only once before had they ever gone 5-0 or better.
That was back in 1978, when the Steelers began the season 7-0, their best winning streak to start a season in franchise history. They finished that year with a 14-2 record and won their third Super Bowl trophy as a franchise at the end of it.
This Steelers team hasn’t been doing it very pretty, but they too are now 7-0, tying the franchise record for the longest streak to begin a season, grinding out a tough and gritty 28-24 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, who came into the game 5-1 with only a loss to the 7-1 Kansas City Chiefs blighting their record.
With the win, it gives Pittsburgh now a two-game cushion at the top of the division standings and keeps them ahead of the pack for control of the first seed in the AFC playoffs race, which is critical now that there is only one first-round bye. The Tennessee Titans also lost, but the Chiefs, with only one loss, continue to be right behind.
Even though Pittsburgh came out of this game battered, with Cameron Heyward and Tyson Alualu sustaining injuries, their next game, while on the road, is against a Dallas Cowboys game that has been abysmal on defense and is starting a backup quarterback. As of this time, it’s unknown if Andy Dalton will even be back.
In other words, there is a pretty good chance that they can extend this winning streak to a franchise-best 8-0 or better. Of course, the most important thing is continuing to stay ahead of the pack, particularly the Ravens (with the Cleveland Browns now falling to 5-3 on the season), but there’s no better way of doing that than continuing to win.
The Steelers have had several wins this season that have not looked overly inspiring. Only one win has come by greater than 10 points, and four of their games have been decided by a single possession, including the last two against two very good teams.
But both of those games were on the road, and the fact that they are finding ways to win no matter the circumstances, doing whatever it takes to exit the stadium with a victory, is what matters most. There are no (meaningful) rankings in the NFL. The team with the best record gets the best seeding.
And nobody has a record as good as the Steelers, who remain, for at least another week, the final unbeaten team in the NFL.