Actually, near the end of the latest edition of the Hangover, the podcast I co-host with Bryan Anthony Davis each and every Monday night at 9:30 (unless the game is on Monday night, then it’s Tuesday at 9:30), I was doing the math in my head, and I was kind of astounded that the Steelers 24-17 loss to the Broncos this past Sunday was just the sixth since Bryan and I started doing the show together at the beginning of the 2017 campaign.
In-fact, the Steelers recent string of above-the-line football (at least in the win column) started on November 20, 2016. Since that day, a, at the time, pedestrian victory over the Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium that improved the team’s mark to 5-5, Pittsburgh has a regular season record of 27-6-1.
Included in that run of excellence are regular season winning-streaks of seven, eight and six games, respectively.
You wouldn’t think one little loss—even if it was the very definition of self-inflicted—would cause so much hostility, so much animosity among the fans, the people, the faithful.
Yet, it has.
Heck, two seconds after Case Keenum finished off the agonizing defeat with a final Victory Formation kneel-down, people were Tweeting that Pittsburgh would be lucky to win one or two games down the stretch, that the Ravens, fresh off of impressive victories over the mighty Bengals and Raiders, were going to jump up and snatch the AFC North out of the Black and Gold’s cold, dead hands.
Instead of the Steelers being two games up on Baltimore in the loss column, they were suddenly just one game up in the win column.
It wasn’t long after that that coaching was blamed for the loss: “See? This team is never prepared to play.” Never, really? “Never” seems like a pretty heavy word for a team that hasn’t lost more than one game in a row since November 13, 2016.
It was almost like people were waiting for the Steelers to lose, just so they could push the old panic button—and that’s when they weren’t pointing the blame finger.
Sure, there were many boneheaded plays in Sunday’s game, but to quote the late and great Dwight White: “Sometimes, this bleep happens.”
Sunday’s loss was just a mess of unthinkable mistakes that are unlikely to happen again—at least the ones committed by “Wrong Hand” Xavier Grimble and “Jumping” James Washington.
Far be it from me, a writer who once had the nerve to write scathing articles about the 0-4 and 2-6 Steelers, to tell you to have some faith in your football team but, come on, have some faith in your football team.
Stupid mistakes, aside, there is nothing to suggest that the Steelers most-recent loss is a prelude to a season-ending collapse. Yes, the past two games—one a sloppy win, and the other a sloppy loss—reminded one of the frustrating 2017 squad, a team that somehow managed to win 13 games despite never really looking disciplined.
But these past two games don’t represent the real 2018 Pittsburgh Steelers.
I’m willing to give the 2018 edition the benefit of the doubt and state that those games against the Falcons, Browns, Ravens and Panthers, where the team looked disciplined, buttoned-up and had a clear identity on both sides of the ball, is who these Steelers are.
The 2018 Steelers appear to be a team more capable of imposing its will on the opposition than the 2017 Steelers. The 2018 Steelers seem more prepared and focused than the 2017 Steelers.
But even the 2017 Steelers knew how to win, same with the late-2016 Steelers.
The Steelers have been doing a lot of winning over the past 106 weeks, and there is nothing to indicate fans need to be worried about a collapse.
If you truly believe the 2018 Steelers are the real deal, you should have faith that they’ll forget about this latest defeat and continue on with their winning ways. If you truly believe the 2018 Steelers are the real deal, you should have faith that they’ll beat teams like the Chargers and Patriots.
If you truly believe in the 2018 Steelers, you really should have some faith in them, in the program, in the consistency.
All I am saying is give faith a chance.