With all of the rough outings that the Pittsburgh Steelers have had in recent weeks, onlookers could be forgiven if they didn’t believe heading into halftime of Sunday’s game that this team didn’t have it in him to actually martial a comeback. The defense allowing the Indianapolis Colts to march down the field to open the third quarter didn’t help, at least until they finally got a stop in the red zone.
That seemed to provide the momentum to start to tip the scales. The offense finally put together a drive resembling some form of competence. It ultimately stalled at the two-yard line, but the defense built off of that, stuffing the Colts and getting the ball right back, the result being a quick-strike 39-yard touchdown to Diontae Johnson.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was almost like a different player in the second half, suddenly finding success on deep and intermediate passes where he hadn’t been in weeks prior, or even in the first half. The question is whether or not this momentum extends beyond that afternoon.
“We won’t know until we get back on the field”, Roethlisberger said on Sunday. “But you feel it in the locker room. You feel the energy. Winning can do amazing things, for people and for teams. That was our first goal, and our first step today, was winning this football game”.
Their goal every week, of course, is to win the football game they’ll be playing in. Even on Sunday, assuming that they rest some key starters such as Roethlisberger, the goal will still be to win the game with who they put out there.
But it’s a short-term goal in service to a long-term one, consisting of many tentpoles along the way. One was qualifying for the playoffs, which they achieved weeks ago. Another was winning the AFC North, which they accomplished with Sunday’s win. But even that is in service to the ultimate prize of winning a Super Bowl.
“It’s cool to be division champs. We knew we were in the playoffs. But this wasn’t our end goal”, he said. “This is one of our goals. We said two weeks ago this was kind of our postseason preseason, and we played a really good football team today, so I’m just proud of the way that we could pull it off”.
Roethlisberger said earlier this year that his goal is to win multiple more Super Bowls to add to the two that he already has won over the course of his career, something that a relative few quarterbacks can claim in spite of the criticism he takes for ‘not having won one in a while’.
Of course, he knows as well as anybody that he is drawing near to the end of his career, so he knows he’s got to get a move on in terms of achieving this goal. He knows they have a shot at a championship this year. He knows that it will come down to him playing at a championship level. He and they will soon find out if he has it in him.