It wasn't too long ago that we were 0-4, and even less time ago we were 2 - 6 and had just been blasted by New England. After both our 4th and 8th games, Steelers fans everywhere were going crazy, or at least that's what it seemed.
Everyone I met was either a Ravens fan or a Steelers fan-in-hiding here in the Baltimore area, and the laughter and insults about how much our team sucked were endless. A small group of us diehard fans kept hoping that the season would turn around and that there would at least be hope for this ragtag group of players.
I said in a post weeks ago that I wouldn't consider this season lost until we had more than 8 loses and I still hold true to that. With all the tiebreakers and things that can go wrong for other teams, 8-8 could make the playoffs this year, and any team that makes the playoffs can win as we proved being the first 6th seed to win it all.
Our team looked slow and old, and had a lack of hunger and focus. In recent weeks some of our older players have looked like their younger selves instead of just shadows of former glory, and young players have stepped up enormously (Heyward and Bell). Heyward is becoming a force on the line, and Bell, while not putting up amazing numbers, is contributing enough for us to maintain the very real threat of running the ball. That may sound like a little thing, but just the threat of the run has helped all our WRs get more separation.
I think that this game and the game against the Tiggers are the two most important. Not just because they are within our division, or because they are our rivals, but because two victories against those teams could propel us to division champion when just weeks ago that seemed impossible. It is still a long shot, and I hope that our team doesn't think that far ahead. One week at a time has to be the mantra. For us, the playoffs began 3 weeks ago and one loss and we're out. We would still have a chance if we lost and other teams did too, but with wins we can control our fate.
As Steelers fans I think the best thing we can do is maintain our faith in our team. We might not agree with the play calling, who's starting, or any number of coaching calls, but on game day show up loud and proud. I plan on being at the Steelers Ravens game on Thanksgiving, shouting at the top of my lungs, waving my terrible towel, and showing that no matter what stadium they're in they have support. When all those fans left during the Lions game I felt disheartened, so I can't imagine how the players felt. Hopefully now that the season has turned around somewhat, even the fair-weather fans can join in and show overwhelming support for the black and gold.
In whatever stadium, bar, or house you may be at cheer loud for your Steelers. As fans it's the main thing we can offer, and the best way we can help.