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It Was The Perfect Weekend For The Pittsburgh Steelers

Whether or not the Pittsburgh Steelers make the playoffs remains to be seen. It’ll still be a major upset if they do with long odds and everything has to go right. But for one weekend, everything did, and it’s fun to see the Steelers officially back in the hunt. They’ve come a long way since 3-7.

Pittsburgh got all the help they could’ve wanted this weekend. The Saints beat the Browns. The Jaguars beat the Jets. The Texans beat the Titans. And most importantly, the Packers beat the Dolphins. There’s still one more important game to watch, every Steelers fan is rooting for Jeff Saturday’s Colts against the Chargers tonight, but the Steelers will have mathematical hope regardless of the MNF result. It’s still going to take a lot, and I mean a lot for Pittsburgh to pace all the teams in front of them but everything broke perfectly to give them the best shot possible entering Week 17.

But best of all, the Steelers took care of their business. Of course, that was required too. A loss Christmas Eve would’ve eliminated Pittsburgh and all the help would’ve been rendered moot. Beating the Raiders at home, in primetime, on the holiday was the sweetest moment of them all. Doing it for Franco Harris and his family, honoring and remembering his legacy in an eerily similar fashion as the team did 50 years ago, scoring 13 points with a last-minute touchdown by a rookie. Regardless of what happens the rest of the season, the Raiders game will be the highlight and a “where were you” moment for the next 50 years.

The mere fact Pittsburgh’s in this position is hard to believe. A 1-4 start, 2-6 at the bye, 3-7 two weeks after it. Holes that may be too deep for the Steelers to climb out of, there’s been so many missed chances this year to rethink about, but Pittsburgh battles as well as any team. They’re at their best when backed into the corner. They did it last year and they’re doing similar this season.

Again, this is probably all for not and there’s no question this team still has big problems that will require big changes. No one is trying to shine up all the issues of the year. But it shows the best in Mike Tomlin. In all his years, he’s never lost the team, and they fight hard to the finish. 2013 when they turned 0-4 into 8-8, 2021 when they turned 1-3 into a playoff berth, and this season battling to the end.

Since the NFL moved to a 16-game season in 1978, 152 teams have started the year 3-7. If Pittsburgh can even win another game and get to eight, they’ll be one of just eleven teams to wind up hitting that number (it’s worth noting this year’s Jacksonville Jaguars could do the same, too). An extra game helps and you know I loathe the “never had a losing season” stat as much as anyone, but what this team is doing is notable. And more importantly, it sets a better table for next season watching Kenny Pickett, George Pickens, and others develop.

It was an awesome weekend. The Steelers are playing winning football and the Football Gods are aligning the stars to make the last two weeks interesting when even a month ago, and certainly two, the season looked like a limp to the finish.

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