It’s a time for teams to regroup and reload. The NFL gives each team a bye at some point during the season with some coming earlier or later then others. The Steelers we’re given a Week 6 bye in 2019, somewhat consistent to where their off-week has fallen over the last several years. While the timing of the bye has been very nice for 2019, it’s what the Steelers do following it which will truly tell if they were able to take advantage of said timing.
Since Mike Tomlin took over as head coach in 2007, the Steelers are 8-4 coming out of the bye week. As important as it is to get a win, what may be more important is the Steelers stacking wins along the way. In order to see if the Steelers are prepared to get on a decent win streak, let’s take a look back at how the Steelers have fared in their next chunk of games coming out of the bye week over the past eight seasons.
2018: 4 straight wins
Following their Week 7 bye in 2018, the Steelers rattled off a home winn against the Cleveland Browns, a win in Baltimore, a Thursday night shellacking of the Carolina Panthers at Heinz Field, and a tough-fought last-second win against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Although the Steelers did find themselves in a bit of a losing streak after that, they did get on a roll after their week off.
2017: 5 straight wins
With a bye in Week 9, the Steelers traveled to the Indianapolis Colts for a three-point victory in 2017. Following up with a win on a short week on a Thursday night game against the Tennessee Titans, the Steelers notched victories at home against the Green Bay Packers, in Cincinnati, and at home against the Baltimore Ravens. And if the New York replay officials hadn’t completely screwed Jesse James out of his touchdown, the Steelers would have possibly finished with an eight-game win streak.
2016: 2 losses followed by 7 straight wins
While the Steelers struggled coming out of their Week 8 bye in 2016 by falling in Baltimore and at home against the Dallas Cowboys, the Steelers won their final seven games of the 2016 regular season.
2015: 1 loss followed by 3 wins
The Steelers bye week came late in 2015 as it was in Week 11. The Steelers traveled to the Seattle Seahawks where they fell 39–30 before they won their next three games against the Colts, Bengals, and Broncos.
2014: 1 loss followed by 4 wins
The Steelers had an even later bye week in 2014 as they were off in Week 12. This was also the only season under Mike Tomlin where the Steelers lost at home coming out of the bye when they fell 35-32 to the New Orleans Saints. After the loss, the Steelers won the final four games of the season in order to win the AFC North in Week 17 by defeating the Cincinnati Bengals. Unfortunately, this was also the season where the Steelers lost Le’Veon Bell in that final game and had to pick up Ben Tate off the street in order to play in the playoffs.
2013: 2 wins
While only winning two games in a row coming off of the Steelers Week 5 bye in 2013, they were important wins as the Steelers had started 0-4 before getting there first wins of the season.
2012: 5 wins in 6 games
The Steelers had a very early bye in 2012 as they were off for Week 4. They defeated the Philadelphia Eagles the week after the bye but fell in Tennessee to the Titans on a short week playing on Thursday night. The Steelers then won the next four games, winning five of their first games six after the bye week.
2011: 3 straight wins, 5 of their last 6
The Steelers won their next three games after their Week 11 bye in 2011 defeating the Chiefs, Bengals, and Browns. The Steelers then fell in San Francisco on Monday Night Football before finishing their season taking down the Rams and the Browns a second time.
Does the past eight seasons of stacking wins after the bye necessarily mean anything for 2019? It does not. But with the Steelers playing their next three games at home and the need to make up some ground in the AFC North, perhaps this team can pull things together after a much-needed week off.