Time To Worry, Steelers Fans

How did the Steelers go from beating a team that was looked at as a Top 5 Super Bowl contender to losing to a team that didn’t even make the playoffs last year?


Karl Roser/Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers safeties’ Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick look to return the ball after an interception.

Manas Kathir, Staff Writer

Have you ever had one of those moments where you feel like you are at the top of the world and then, suddenly, everything comes crashing down?

This basically sums up what happened to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. In Week 1, they upset all odds and defeated the Buffalo Bills 23-16 in what was one of the most confusing games of the opening week.

The Bills seemed to be clicking on all cylinders in the first half of the game as they led 10-0. The Steelers were unable to generate any offense, and their defense had to do a lot of work to keep it close.

However, they fought until the end as the offense started clicking in the second half. Chase Claypool, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Diontae Johnson combined for 133 yards altogether and the offense was able to generate six points by the end of the third quarter.

The defense remained solid as they usually do and allowed no additional points, making the score 10-6. With an amazingly orchestrated drive by Ben Roethlisberger, Diontae Johnson was able to haul in an impressive touchdown catch before the 11-minute mark of the fourth quarter. The Steelers took the lead 13-10 with 9:49 left, and the special teams were able to block a Bills punt and turn it into a touchdown.

After the touchdown by the Steelers to take a 20-10 lead, the Bills offense came back and cashed in a field goal to make it 20-13. Now, the Steelers had to score a field goal to ensure a win because there was only 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Chris Boswell was able to deliver a 45-yard field goal to give the Steelers a 23-13 lead.

After this lead, a great number of Bills Mafia, the nickname for fans of the Bills team, left the stadium in shock. The Bills were able to cash in a field goal to give them a chance with an onside kick. Their attempt failed and the Steelers secured the win.

Despite emerging victorious, many Steelers fans forgot what actually took place in the first half and the struggles they had because they won. Forgetting the first half is ultimately why so many Steelers fans were shocked by the loss the following week against the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders won against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens the week before, so both teams headed into the game 1-0.

The game started off with a field goal by the Raiders, while the Steelers once again failed to produce any offense. Again, the Raiders cashed in another field goal to make the score 6-0 with 9:37 left in the second quarter.

Then, finally, the Steelers offense executed a touchdown drive with Juju-Smith Schuster running it in, making the score 7-6 following Boswell’s extra point.

Later, Derek Carr and the Raiders’ offense pushed to Pittsburgh territory, allowing kicker Daniel Carlson to cash in a 41-yard field goal right before halftime. During the third quarter, both teams failed to convert any scores until the Raiders produced a touchdown with five minutes left.

The beginning of the last quarter, however, was where the Steelers shined the most in this game. With a high yardage play to Wide Receiver Chase Claypool, Najee Harris scored a touchdown for the Steelers and brought the score back to a one-possession game, 16-14.

Heinz Field was hyped with ten minutes to go, and that awoke the beast in Derek Carr. With one of his most incredible passes, he chucked up a high-yardage ball to wide receiver Henry Ruggs III, resulting in a touchdown. This absolutely stunned the crowd and the Steelers were back to trailing, 23-14.

The Steelers did eventually fight back and put Kicker Chris Boswell in a position to make a 56-yard field goal, bringing the score to a 6 point game with 3:47 left. With the remaining time left, Derek Carr and the Raiders offense wasted time on the clock and made the Steelers use their timeouts. Reducing the time to 20 seconds, they were able to put Carlson in a position to finish the game with a field goal. Three more points for the Raiders ensured a win in a 26-17 score.

Now, how is it that the Steelers beat a team that was looked at as a top four framchise going into the season and lost to a team that didn’t even make the playoffs last year? Obviously, TJ Watt was injured early in the game, but injuries are a part of the sport. Second, Derek Carr has been nothing but special this season and is putting up MVP-type numbers.

Also, the Steelers’ offense is so inconsistent that any result can happen against any team. It therefore seems that the Steelers franchise and fanbase are getting ahead of themselves. Saying the Steelers are a Super Bowl contender feels rather exaggerated.

There is very little evidence to suggest the Steelers are currently playing like a Super Bowl contender. While the defense is strong, the offensive side of the ball is usually the one that scores. As of right now, Ben Roethlisberger’s offense is making him look old.

In recent years, the Steelers have earned the reputation for competing extremely well against the best teams and losing to the teams they are expected to beat. But lately, with the way they are playing, they won’t be able to consistently win football games.

My prediction going into the season was 12-5 because of the team’s ability to compete and keep fighting. Can it happen? Of course, but the Steelers are going to have to fix many things to even have a chance at such a record.