The Pittsburgh Steelers have just lost their third game in a row, falling to the bottom feeder Bengals. Just a couple of weeks ago this team was undefeated and at the top of the AFC. Now they dropped to the number 3 spot and are in a heated battle with Cleveland for the division. This team has a tough remaining schedule as they have to host the Indianapolis Colts and then travel to play the Browns in their season finally.
One of the biggest factors that has led to the Steelers rough patch of losses is the drop off of their defense. They had only let two teams score more than 21 points before week 13, but all the teams that the Steelers have lost too dropped 21+ points. The defense is the strongest link on the Steelers, and they need to be playing at a high level in order for the Steelers to have playoff success. Two of the losses that the Steelers have suffered were to teams with losing records and dismal offenses. The Steelers defense gave up 23 points to a Washington team that has no certainty under center, and a Cincinnati team that lost Joe Burrow to an injury and scored 27 points with a backup QB. This defense is supposed to be one of the best units in the league, but if they can’t get their act together quickly they could end the season on a 5 game losing streak.
While the defense has not been playing at the top of their game, their offense has been struggling even more. During this three game losing streak the Steelers have not had a rusher go over 100 yards, and the Bills held James Conner to a mere 18 yards on the ground. This rushing attack has been horrific the past three games, and that is one of the main reasons that the Steelers have not gotten anything going. They have not had more than 17 points during their losing streak, which puts even more pressure on a defense that has not been delivering. The lack of run game has been affecting Roethlisberger who has not gone for over 200 yards in the past two games. Without a solid run game, the Steelers are falling behind early and they can’t seem to make up enough ground to compensate for their slow starts.
The Steelers are now just trying to end the season with some kind of momentum, as the once perfect season has turned disastrous. Their defense has not been able to carry this team through a game, and the offense does not seem to be on the same level as the Bills or Chiefs. This is a cause of concern heading into the postseason, and it seems like the Steelers peaked too soon.
Top Image: Behind the Steel Curtain