Things always look bad after a blowout loss. The Pittsburgh Steelers certainly didn’t look like a team that was going to be competitive very often during their display today on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs. But they have not been a good road team all season, they were playing the best team in the conference, and they were down several players.
There are still two games left to play, and they remain very much in contention for the postseason. If they do win those two games—against the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns—then there’s a very good chance that they do make it in. And those are looking like winnable games. They’re not about to just lay down.
“Excuse my language, but I ain’t accepting shit”, Cameron Heyward said about the struggles of the defense in recent weeks and his insistence that they must do better to continue toward a playoff push. “We’ve got a lot of football left to play”.
Heyward is, of course, one of the team’s few stalwart players remaining. He recorded six tackles in today’s loss to the Chiefs, one for a loss, as well as a sack and a quarterback hit. He’s now up to eight sacks on the season, tied for the third-most he has ever had in a single year, just after learning that he made his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl.
“A lot will be said in these last two games”, Heyward continued, as the Steelers prepare for a divisional double-header in the final two weeks. “I know it wasn’t perfect today. It breaks my heart to let our fans down, to let our team down, to go out like that, but, man, I ain’t ready to throw in no damn towel. We’ve got a lot of football left”.
Two games might not sound like a lot of football, but when the AFC North is all so close, it actually works out that way. The Cincinnati Bengals are in the past position at 9-6, but they must still face the Chiefs themselves before closing the season in Cleveland. As for the Browns, they are now 7-8, and the Ravens are 8-7.
The Steelers, of course, are 7-7-1. If they were to win the division, they would need the Bengals to lose both of their games, and to win their own. Since Pittsburgh still plays Baltimore and Cleveland, they will be in the driver’s seat with respect to seeding relative to their other divisional opponents.
Nobody in the AFC North has been able to consistently look anything close to good from week to week. We saw how bad the Ravens’ absolutely decimated secondary looked today. We saw how bad Baker Mayfield looked on Saturday. How will Myles Garrett’s ankle feel a week from tomorrow? Hopefully not great.