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The Steelers fall behind by two scores or more a lot

My brother texted me on Monday and said he was “blindsided” by the Steelers’ 30-6 loss at Houston the day before. My cousin texted that he was “so p**sed off about the Steelers.”

Blindsided? P**sed off? I’ve long since moved on from being either of those things about these Steelers. I can understand why others would be upset or angry, but what I don’t get about those two texts, as well as the general reaction from many others in the fan base, is why there is also a sense of shock and surprise.

How can you possibly be shocked or surprised by how this team has performed through the first month of the 2023 regular season? I get that there was a ton of optimism and positivity all throughout the offseason. This was mostly the result of free agency and the draft, but just about every offseason generates some good vibes because of those things. That’s what the offseason is for. However, once Week 1 kicked off, and you saw that Pittsburgh’s professional football team was still serving you the same mediocre-to-worse product it had been for the previous few years, all shock and surprise should have left your body for the remainder of the season.

The Steelers lost that first game to the 49ers by 23 points. They lost on Sunday by 24 points. You should not have been shocked by Pittsburgh losing two games by such scores. In fact, you should never be surprised when the team falls behind by at least two scores at any point of a game because it’s been a common theme for a while now.

You know how many times this has happened in recent years? I did the research so you wouldn’t have to.

While it is true that the Steelers have consistently been a “blah” football organization since the end of the 2018 campaign, I began my research on December 13, 2020. Why? Because Pittsburgh was 11-1. It had just lost its first game of the season to the Washington Football Team six days earlier at Heinz Field. The Steelers were about to take on an up-and-coming Buffalo squad, one that had been to the playoffs the year before and was on its way to the postseason again. Yet, despite the Bills’ being slight favorites behind the leadership of quarterback Josh Allen, and despite them clearly having a more talented roster on both sides of the ball, this may have been the last time that the Steelers could have reasonably tricked their fans into thinking they were something they were not: An NFL contender on par with other NFL contenders.

Buffalo took it to the Steelers all game long. Pittsburgh was outplayed by a talented team in front of a national audience on Sunday Night Football. Buffalo won, 26-15, as the Steelers dropped their second-straight game to fall to 11-2.

What is significant about that game in hindsight was that the Steelers fell behind by at least two scores (obviously). Pittsburgh continued to fall behind by at least two scores in every matchup the rest of the 2020 campaign–including the wildcard loss to the Browns at Heinz Field.

The Steelers began their 2021 regular season by falling behind by at least two scores in every game over the first four weeks. In case you’re bad at math, that was nine games in a row, dating back to the previous season, in which Pittsburgh had fallen behind by at least two scores. Believe it or not, the Steelers’ record over that time was a less-than-mediocre 2-7.

The Steelers have played 44 games since December 13, 2020–including two playoff matchups–and they’ve fallen behind by at least two scores 25 times. I don’t know if you really are bad at math, but that’s a lot of times. I don’t know how you are with percentages, but that’s over 50 percent of the games.

That kind of trend is indicative of a team that is constantly swimming upstream. It’s indicative of a roster that’s inferior to its opponents on most Sundays. It’s indicative of a coaching staff that has fallen behind the majority of other units in the NFL.

It’s indicative of an offensive approach that is totally clueless…obviously. But it’s also indicative of a defensive philosophy that may be more clueless than people care to admit.

The Steelers’ record since December 13, 2020–including playoffs–is 21-22-1.

To reiterate, you should never again be shocked or surprised by who and what these Steelers are.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Maya Angelou:

“When someone shows you who they are believe them the first time.”

Or the 25th time.



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