A lot of things are going to be weird in a year like 2020 when so many different things have happened—or not happened. In a year in which a viral pandemic has been the defining event at the beginning of a new decade and promises to stretch into another year, with it has come a looming uncertainty around basically the rest of life as we know it.
The NFL has certainly not been immune to it. We just saw this past week that one can’t even be too sure exactly of when a game is going to be played. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Thanksgiving showdown against the Baltimore Ravens was postponed three times before finally taking place six days later.
Pittsburgh’s 11-0 record is just another oddity of the year, especially considering the fact that they had never started better than 7-0 in franchise history—though they have finished 15-1 before, as well at 14-2, and 13-3 as recently as 2017.
The Steelers can clinch a playoff berth with a win this week, and clinching the division is within grasp not long after. But for those in the locker room, everything sort of hangs in the balance, leaving them struggling with glimpsing the bigger picture—perhaps to their advantage.
“The record this year just kind of feels weird, the whole Covid year”, guard David DeCastro told reporters yesterday. “I know we’re 11-0, but I just think in this and age, you don’t look too far ahead or behind, you’re just stuck in the moment. That’s kind of what it feels like this year. Maybe they shut the season off tomorrow, and it’s like, that’s a real possibility nowadays”.
You’re just enjoying day-to-day life, whether it’s football, personal life. That’s how I look at it”, he continued. “The record is what it is. We know, too, as an older guy, regardless off Covid or not, that all that matters is whether you’re peaking and staying healthy. That’s why I said it was tough to lose a guy like Bud [Dupree]. You hate to see the injuries, but this is the time you’ve got to make sure you’re peaking and getting better. You can’t be flattening out or going down”.
While they are coming off a win, the Steelers may have played their worst game of the season on Wednesday against a Ravens team that was down its top quarterback, running back, tight end, pass rusher, two starting defensive linemen, a starting receiver, their top two centers, their fullback, and their long snapper, along with other key depth players.
Regardless of the level of competition, the errors that they had in the game, from drops to busted plays to an inefficient running game in stretches to special teams mediocrity, is certainly not what could be construed as peaking. They need to get the arrow pointing back up after tomorrow’s game.