The Pittsburgh Steelers are known as a beacon of consistency. Strong, contending teams, year in, year out. But over the last five years, they’ve ridden the roller coaster more than they’d like. Lot of highs, plenty of lows. And that’s not just perception. It’s reality.
Since 2016, the Pittsburgh Steelers have had five separate losing streaks of at least three games. And that’s a problem.
It began with a four-game skid in 2016 that saw them drop from 4-1 to 4-5 (before running the table the rest of the regular season…like I said, streaky). They lost three in a row in 2018, had two separate such streaks in 2019, and lost three in their bumpy end to the season in 2020.
So let’s make a comparison. From 2000 to 2015, the Steelers had nine three-game losing streaks. On average, they experienced it once every 1.78 seasons. From 2016 to 2020, they’ve had five. Meaning they averaged that type of losing streak exactly once a season.
That may not sound like a lot, but for the Steelers, it is. And they’ve gone on some ugly, season-derailing losing streaks. The mark of a good team is one who can shake off a loss, regroup, and put it to bed the next week. Sure, there are valid reasons for some of the team’s struggles, especially in 2019 without Ben Roethlisberger. But it isn’t exclusive to that year so it can’t be used as the excuse.
For further context, here’s how the Steelers’ streak stacks up against some of the consistently top teams in football. Here’s a list of three-game losing streaks since 2016:
Kansas City Chiefs – 1
Seattle Seahawks – 1
New England Patriots – 2
New Orleans Saints – 2
Baltimore Ravens – 3
Los Angeles Rams – 3
Buffalo Bills – 3
Tennessee Titans – 3
Pittsburgh Steelers – 5
That’s just a random sampling, not a comprehensive list, but the Steelers don’t come out looking good here. It’s not like their overall win/loss record is dramatically worse than those other teams, either. Probably not topping the list, but they’re right up there or better than any of those teams I included. But they’ve been a lot more up-and-down in their play. Part of that are ugly ends to the season, as we highlighted earlier this month.
Whatever you want to blame it on, whatever the reason may be, the Steelers need to get back to their consistent ways. Not turning losses into losing streaks that end up defining their season. This schedule is too unforgiving and the AFC and specifically, the AFC North, are too good for this team to get away with losing multiple games in a row. If they do, their chances of making the playoffs tank.