Even though the Pittsburgh Steelers are 8-0 for literally the first time in their history, they’re non-plussed about it. It’s not the first time they’ve ever had a good record. It’s not even the first time they’ve won eight games in a row before. This isn’t the New York Jets, linebacker Avery Williamson’s team, which he is finding out.
Another reason everybody isn’t jumping up and celebrating—even tight end Eric Ebron, as he is becoming accustomed to Pittsburgh’s winning ways—is because they know that they are winning in spite of playing their best ball, and that without being at their best, they are still putting themselves in positions in which they can lose.
“I think it’s cool, I guess, but there’s so much work that’s left to be done”, outside linebacker T.J. Watt said about the Steelers’ 8-0 start. “We weren’t super thrilled with how we played last week. Me personally, too. And we just want to continue to get better, and we know that there’s a lot of meat left on the bone and we can continue to go on and have great weeks of practice and continue to try to be a team on the rise and, hopefully, keep this streak going”.
Pittsburgh trailed 13-0 until late in the second quarter on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys being scoring nine unanswered. Dallas came back with six more and led 19-9 entering the fourth quarter, at which point Williamson, who had come over from the winless Jets, admitted that he was taken aback by his new teammates’ confidence in their ability to get back into the game and win.
They did, of course, scoring 15 points in the final frame with two touchdowns and a field goal (and two failed points-after tries), fending off a couple of last-ditch efforts from Dallas and first-time starter Garrett Gilbert at quarterback.
It was enough to get them out to 8-0, but the reality is that they still hold just a half-game lead for the first seed in the conference over the 8-1 Kansas City Chiefs, who are finally on their bye, and a two-game lead over the Baltimore Ravens for the lead in the division.
With eight games left. Suffice it to say that a lot of things can happen over the span of the next eight weeks. As Cameron Heyward said earlier this week, the only thing that being 8-0 guarantees is that you can’t do worse than 8-8. They were 8-8 or better in each of the past two years and didn’t even make the postseason.
In other words, there’s nothing to celebrate yet. They’re on the road to good things, but they’re not there now. And they know that they haven’t taken the smoothest path in getting there, either. It’s been a downright bumpy ride at time, especially in the past two weeks.