It was seven days ago that it appeared that the Steelers season was basically over after a 27-17 loss to the Bengals in Cincinnati, a team you could always count on the Steelers beating.
The team had dropped three straight, and while no matter the team was already in the postseason, their odds of playing past the first week of the playoffs were getting more and more slim.
The Steelers had six days to prepare for a 10-4 Colts team that was playing very good football, as they were also trying to hold off the surging the Browns to find a way to win the AFC North.
As they say quite a bit in sports and in life, what a difference a few days make.
The Steelers here on a Monday morning are walking around with AFC North champion shirts and hats after a 28-24 win over the Colts, while the Browns are now 10-5 and hanging on to their playoff lives after a stunning 23-16 loss to a one-win New York Jets team.
Pittsburgh following the win, enters week 17 12-3, and will wait for Monday’s game between the Bills and Patriots to see if the Steelers maintain the number two seed in the AFC, or are the three seed for the time being.
Here’s a few thoughts on Sunday’s game as well as what’s next for the black and gold with a trip to Cleveland upcoming on January 3rd.
A Comeback to Remember
Down 17 points, the Steelers came back from the dead in the second half, and led by Ben Roethlisberger put on a clinic, scoring three touchdowns in 11 minutes.
The defense also played lights out, going from allowing 21 points in the first half to just three in the second half.
The Steelers appeared dead in the water when they were down 24-7, and the way both the offense and defense were playing it looked like a division title was slipping away.
No matter how 2020 ends, give credit to this group of players for showing heart and coming back to gain a massive win that earned them their first division title since 2017.
The rumor is center Maurkice Pouncey lit up the locker room at half, and the Steelers players responded with a three touchdown second half to win the game.
It’s about time that a team leader stepped up and fired up the troops, and while it didn’t start out great, it ended well for the home team.
Who knows if the speech will need to be repeated at some point this week or the next, but it was great to see someone take the bull by the horns and make this team see that their chances at a successful season were quickly slipping away.
On to Cleveland
The Browns loss Sunday was stunning, but considering the team had to sit all of their staring and reserve wide outs and tight ends minus Austin Hooper, they were at a disadvantage entering the game.
Browns fans still felt that with running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt plus a defense at full strength they should have won the game, but instead Baker Mayfield fumbled the ball three times and overall the team laid a huge egg on the road.
They will be motivated to come home Sunday and beat the Steelers, who crushed the Browns 38-7 back in Pittsburgh on Oct. 18th.
It makes sense to give Roethlisberger and most of the regulars the day off, as this club hasn’t had a bye week since week three.
If the Browns do win they are in the playoffs, and there’s a chance of a third meeting between the two clubs at Heinz Field a week later, but it very well might be a chance the Steelers have to take to allow the regulars on this team a chance to have a breather.
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Richard T Tilves
December 29, 2020 at 2:09 pm
Steelers will let Browns win, by holding out Ben & other older or semi-injured starters. I rather play Browns again a week later than the Ravens.