The Pittsburgh Steelers lost. Yes, they should have won. Yes, it doesn’t feel great when they lose. It’s also one game, they’re in the exact same position that they were in before kickoff—in control of the number one seed, that is—and they have plenty of time to get better. Losing one game doesn’t mean losing a bunch.
After all, how often does a team win its first 11 games of a season? Not incredibly often. The fact that they held out this long without losing a game is a pretty remarkable achievement, especially when you considering the fact that their previous best was 7-0, which came all the way back in 1978. There’s a very good chance they never go 11-0 again.
So there’s no need for us to start tearing our hair out and gnashing our teeth just because they lost one game to a non-conference opponent. They still own the conference record tiebreaker over the Kansas City Chiefs, and they still have a two-game lead over the Cleveland Browns for the AFC North lead, with a 4-0 division record and a game in-hand already.
There is no fear that we won’t be seeing this team in January. Chances are, in some way or another, whether through a win or another team’s loss, they will clinch their first playoff berth since 2017 next week. For the time being, though, they stew in defeat.
“Yeah, it stinks”, said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who knows a thing or two about winning, holding an all-time 155-72-1 record. “Been a while since we lost a game. It’s not a good feeling. But we’ll prepare for a short week and get ready to go again”.
Aside from the Chiefs, the New Orleans Saints are the only other team with fewer than three losses on the season, at 10-2. The Buffalo Bills and the Green Bay Packers are both 9-3, as are the Browns. Every other team in the NFL has at least four losses.
You might not know that gauging by the reactions from Steelers fans, who have been ruing wins for weeks in preparation for this inevitable moment that they finally lose a game, as though they didn’t get enough of them last year.
Might Pittsburgh be in a bit of a funk right now? Perhaps. Does that mean they’re going to keep losing? Absolutely not. Playing Buffalo next week will be a challenge, but it’s a game that they can win. They are capable of beating anybody in the NFL—as long as they don’t beat themselves.