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The Steelers loss to the Jags wasn’t that different from their previous two wins

The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered their third defeat of the season on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars after stacking two wins with their bye week in between them. After getting wins against the Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Rams, they was plenty of buzz in Steelers’ Nation about what this team is capable of doing in 2023.

But with a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 8, all that buzz came crashing down and instead the Steelers were such a flawed team there is no hope of redemption.

But was this loss that much different than the Steelers previous two wins?

In reality, it was not.

Honestly, the only thing that really was different in this game versus the last was a Kenny Pickett fourth quarter comeback. But with Kenny Pickett being knocked out just before halftime, it’s simply didn’t happen.

”But the defense didn’t get the job done!”

Is that true? Not really. In fact the defense almost exactly mirrored what they did against the Rams. They gave up nine points in the first half and eight points in the third quarter. The only difference this week is when the Steelers had the ball with the chance to tie the game with a touchdown, Mitch Trubisky threw an interception the Jaguars turned into a field goal.

”But the offense didn’t do anything when Kenny was in there!”

But is this true? In the previous two wins, the Steelers had three points at halftime in each game. This week, the Steelers had… three points at halftime. In fact, you could make the argument that the offense was a little bit better because they technically had six points for a brief moment before they were taken away with an explainable referee interjection. Kenny Pickett was the quarterback that had the Steelers at the 38-yard line as Trubisky came in for one play that was incomplete.

”But the Steelers only had 100 yards of offense in the first half!”

While this is true, it was more than the 88 yards they had against the Ravens in the first half and the 91 yards they had against the Rams in the first half.

Do you see a pattern here yet?

The halftime scores of the last three games of the Steelers had them trailing 10–3, 9–3, and 9–3. This game against the Jaguars was playing out exactly like the previous two games.

And then Kenny Pickett got knocked out of the game.

In the game against the Ravens, both teams pitched a shut out in the third quarter before the Steelers outscored the Ravens 14–0 in the fourth quarter. Against the Rams in the third quarter, the Steelers surrendered a touchdown at a two-point conversion while scoring a touchdown of their own having the score at 17–10 heading into the fourth quarter. Against the Jaguars, the exact same third-quarter score happened with the Steelers being outscored 8–7 and they entered the final 15 minutes of the game down 17–10.

The Steelers entered the fourth quarter of their game with Jacksonville exactly as they did the last two weeks. Being down 7 points , the Steelers would need a touchdown of their own and another score in order to win the game. But when the Steelers had the ball with a chance to score that touchdown, they had their first turnover since Week 4 against the Houston Texans and it eventually turned into three points for their opponent.

That’s the difference.

That’s the only difference.

Would Kenny Pickett have been able to lead the Steelers back to win the game? We will never know for sure. We just know that Mitchell Trubisky did not. But thinking that the Steelers quarterback who was praised for the last two weeks is suddenly now terrible based only his first half performance before being injured is the definition of a knee-jerk overreaction.

Saying the defense is not getting the job done is another knee-jerk overreaction.

This 2023 Pittsburgh Steelers team was not that different in Week 8 as they were in Week 5 and Week 7. They just didn’t get the big come-from-behind win. And if a team is going to rely on this all the time, sometimes it just won’t happen. To think that this team looks different than it did a week ago isn’t accurate outside of dealing with the injuries to Minkah Fitzpatrick and Kenny Pickett.

The bottom line is, if you believed in the Steelers before they played the Jacksonville Jaguars, there’s not that there was that much different outside of injuries to not continue to believe in them. And if you didn’t believe in the Steelers before they played that we could game, that this game gave you more of a reason to back up your claim. But to think it was a significant difference on Sunday compared to the previous two games, it just wasn’t the case outside of Kenny Pickett being available to orchestrate the comeback.


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