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Steelers News: Long winning streaks are not new for Mike Tomlin and the Steelers

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have now won six straight games and continue to “stack wins.” After their 20-16 come from behind win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 11, the team now has to turn the page quickly before they travel again, this time to Denver to play the Broncos in Week 12.

Today in the Black-and-gold links article, we talk about how lengthy winning streaks, the Steelers’ are currently riding a six-game streak, are not new to Mike Tomlin during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Let’s get to the news:

Steelers notebook: Tomlin has made annual habit of long winning streaks

By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Win a win Sunday in Denver, the Pittsburgh Steelers will have made it through October and November – two full calendar months – without a loss. But it’s become something of an annual tradition under Mike Tomlin to go on long winning streaks.

After winning seven consecutive to close out the 2016 season (nine straight if you count the playoffs) and going on an eight-game run of wins last season, the Steelers carry a six-game winning streak into Sunday’s game at the Broncos.

Although these are the three longest winning streaks of the Tomlin coaching tenure that began in 2007, Tomlin’s teams have had at least a four-game winning streak in nine of his 12 seasons. And during those three seasons in which Tomlin did not win four in a row at at least one point? The Steelers, respectively, had runs of wins in five-of-six (2007), six-of-eight (2013) and, in 2015, separate runs of winning five of six and four of five.

Counting a pair of four-game winning streaks in 2011, Tomlin has 10 winning streaks of at least four games in his 12 seasons.

Tim Benz: What should we believe from this Le’Veon Bell story?

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Here’s what ESPN’s Adam Schefter posted about Le’Veon Bell on Sunday morning.

The story got buried under an avalanche of discussion about the Steelers’ comeback in Jacksonville, and, of course, the potential dawn of the Condoleezza Rice coaching era in Cleveland.

But it’s worth a read.

“The Steelers and Le’Veon Bell both made closing pushes leading up to Tuesday’s deadline to iron out a deal that would have brought him back to Pittsburgh this season, but neither side could finalize an agreement, league sources told ESPN.

“The Steelers were told that if they were willing to not use their franchise or transition tag on Bell after this season, he would consider reporting to the team, according to sources. But the Steelers declined Bell’s request because they felt the tag was too important to forgo.”

That strikes me as something that was leaked by Bell’s agent, Adisa Bakari, or someone in that camp to the “league sources.”

Why? Because the result makes the Steelers look restrictive and petty by wedding themselves to the importance of a tag next year, thus keeping Bell off the roster for the remainder of this season.

Such a characterization would cast the Steelers in an especially bad light if something should happen to James Conner.

I’ve got a hard time believing this source is entirely accurate. My guess is there were some mutual assurances that weren’t met on Bell’s part. The word “consider” is awfully glaring in the second sentence, isn’t it?

Part of the reason I’m skeptical of this source is I don’t know why the Steelers would jeopardize getting Bell on the roster as a $5 million insurance policy for Conner in the name of tagging him next year.

The Steelers don’t get compensation if they transition tag him. And if he is franchised or transitioned, then in neither case do the Steelers get the benefit of the entire carry over space against the salary cap in 2019.

Also, consider what they just went through this year with Bakari and Bell. Keep in mind they now understand what Conner can give them as a starting back. Those factors lead me to guess the Steelers wouldn’t be inclined to give Bell that much money next year.

Sunday’s bad performance from Conner aside, what sense would it make for the Steelers to lock up at least $9 million on a player whose job was just adequately performed by a guy scheduled to make $844,572 next year against the cap ?

That figure is still less than what Bell is forfeiting per week by staying away this year.

When looking at it that way, this suggestion as to why the last-ditch negotiations failed doesn’t make a lot of sense.

The only logic to support that the Steelers would take such a hardline stance about keeping the use of either tag on the table is that they want to buttress themselves against Conner flaming out during the last half of the year or suffering some sort significant injury that would eat into his availability to start 2019.

In other words, the premise would have been: “Bring Bell back for the latter half of this season and potentially the playoffs. Along the way, if he should prove to be even better than Conner, then slap either tag on him again and reboot the whole process during the offseason.”

Steelers defense springs a few leaks, but holds it together without Stephon Tuitt

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

It took more than one player to make up for the absence of Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt on Sunday.

Coach Mike Tomlin turned to a combination of Tyson Alualu, Javon Hargrave and Daniel McCullers along the defensive line to fill Tuitt’s void in a 20-16 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Jaguars had 179 yards rushing – the most allowed by the Steelers this season – but scored just one touchdown against the bend-but-don’t-break defense that made key stops in the fourth quarter and finished with six sacks.

Alualu and McCullers played on running downs, and Alualu had six of his seven tackles in the first half when the Steelers struggled to stop the run. Jacksonville had 141 yards on the ground and possessed the ball for more than 22 minutes in the half. Leonard Fournette gained 74 of his 95 yards in the half.

“When you’re on the field that much, it tends to erode away at you,” Tomlin said. “The pile starts to fall forward, or people start to miss tackles. I just thought increasingly as the game went on, there was less of that and it speaks to the character of the group.”

Hargrave substituted for Alualu and McCullers on passing downs and finished with two sacks and a pass defensed. It was the first career multi-sack game for Hargrave, who has five sacks in his third NFL season.

“We just stepped up as a defense,” Hargrave said. “We were getting to the ball and making tackles. We did a good job of containing Fournette as well.”