PITTSBURGH PA - JANUARY 15: Running back Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates the game winning touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth quarter of the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Heinz Field on January 15 2011 in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
The Steelers have looked pretty ordinary on offense since their bye week. If you take away the team's impressive 35-7 victory over the Bengals a few weeks ago, the Steelers have only averaged 10 points in their other three games since the break.
That's not a brand of offensive football that teams who are poised to make a Super Bowl run normally display this time of year. When you see how contenders like the Saints and Patriots are playing on offense right now, Pittsburgh seems very outclassed by comparison.
However, in recent years, these Steelers have bucked many trends, including the notion that teams that look their sharpest in November and December are the true Super Bowl contenders.
In weeks 14-16 of 2008, the future Super Bowl XLIII Champion Steelers had a stretch where they averaged 15.6 points a game and only scored four offensive touchdowns. From the final week of the regular season through the Super Bowl, however, the Steelers averaged 29 points per game and looked about as sharp on offense as any point in the season.
Last year, the soon-to-be AFC Champion Steelers had a four-game stretch from November 28th-December 19th where they averaged 18 points a game and scored only four offensive touchdowns. But starting in their next-to-last game against the Panthers all the way through Super Bowl XLV, the Steelers averaged 29.6 points per game and scored 17 offensive touchdowns.
A lot of this is predicated on the health-status of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, of course, but as the team gets set to take on the hapless St. Louis Rams tomorrow afternoon in their penultimate regular season game, it's at least comforting to know that recent Steelers Super Bowl teams have shown the ability to "flip the switch" on offense in January, if not November.