I’m not one to hand out grades after Steelers games, but if I had to issue one for their offensive performance against the Titans at Heinz Field on Sunday afternoon, it would be an ‘F’, as in WTF?
In case you fell asleep or gouged your eyes out, Pittsburgh’s offense tallied 168 yards on Sunday. Just how pathetic are 168 yards of total offense in a professional football game sanctioned by the National Football League? So pathetic, that if instead of going to sleep or gouging your eyes out, you decided to get super drunk and ran out onto Heinz Field, you likely would have gained more yards before security caught up to you and tackled you to the ground.
Twelve first downs. Diontae Johnson was the leading receiver with 38 yards. Najee Harris was the leading rusher with 18 yards on 12 carries.
Yet, the Steelers managed to win the game, 19-13, and are currently just a half a game out of first place in the AFC North.
Obviously, you have to credit Pittsburgh’s defense for keeping the team in the game and ultimately winning it. T.J. Watt made plays. Joe Haden, returning from a long absence due to injury, made truly key plays, as did Joe Schobert and even Taco Charlton. Keith Butler’s unit tallied four sacks and four takeaways. It was obviously the turnovers that turned the tide in Sunday’s contest, a contest in which the Steelers defense totally shut out Tennessee’s offense over the final 30 minutes.
But we’re not talking about the 1976 Steelers defense, here. It’s not like the unit deserves some sort of medal (actually, the Titans defense probably deserves a Christmas bonus for the 1976-like yardage it allowed on Sunday). The Titans still managed to post 318 total yards and averaged 4.8 yards per carry on the ground. You still can’t trust that rush defense, at least when it lines up in stadiums not named Heinz Field. Tyson Alualu and Stephon Tuitt remain on the sidelines. As for Watt? Despite breaking James Harrison’s single-season record for sacks after recording his 17th, he still doesn’t seem 100 percent, and his backups are guys named Taco and Derrek Tuszka.
Yet, here we are with three games left in the 2021 regular season, and, to reiterate, your Pittsburgh Steelers are a mere half a game out of first place in the AFC North thanks to the Ravens near win over the Packers (I’m calling all Ravens one-point losses near wins from now on thanks to John Harbaugh’s sudden aversion to extra points at the end of games).
Are you surprised that these sickly Steelers are still alive despite having what should be grave symptoms? I’m not. This is what the Steelers do. This is what they did in 2013, even with a roster that may have been worse than their current one. This is what they did just two years ago, even with a former national duck-calling champion as their starting quarterback.
The Steelers have three games to go, and even though one of them is against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium next week (let us pray), the other two are against the Browns and Ravens, respectively. In other words, they’re probably going to be playing for something significant in Week 18. It will likely be the division title that's on the line, but with how close the AFC standings are, it could very well be a wildcard spot (both things might still be in the balance, actually).
These Steelers really should be in bed. They have no business going to work and making everyone else sick with their play. I mean, the holidays are fast approaching.
But would you have it any other way? Yeah, me either.