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A recent history of Steelers 2-2 starts

History says the playoffs are still in sight

USA TODAY Sports RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

Starting the season 2-2 isn’t ideal for any Pittsburgh Steelers team, but it’s far from a death sentence. Let’s take a look at all of the 2-2 starts under Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin.


1993

After starting 0-2, Pittsburgh fought back to .500 by scoring 35 unanswered points against the Atlanta Falcons in a 45-17 victory in the Georgia Dome.

The Steelers finished the season at 9-7, clinching the final playoff spot, but that journey ended in Arrowhead Stadium, with Pittsburgh losing in overtime to Joe Montana and the Kansas City Chiefs.

1994

The Steelers fell to 2-2 when they traveled to Seattle and seemingly forgot to bring their offense (besides Gary Anderson).

Pittsburgh would finish the season at 12-4, good enough for the top seed in the AFC. But they ultimately lost to the San Diego Chargers in the “3 More Yards” AFC Championship.

1995

After a 2-0 start, Pittsburgh fell to 2-2 when Warren Moon and the Minnesota Vikings came to town and stomped the Black & Gold 44-24, in a game that was actually worse than the final score. Mike Tomczak and Jim Miller each threw 3 interceptions that Sunday.

We all know how this season ended: with a trip to Sun Devil Stadium and Super Bowl XXX.

1997

Kordell Stewart and The Steelers climbed back to 2-2 by keeping the Tennessee Oilers out of the end zone until the fourth quarter.

The Steelers finished with an 11–5 record, and their fourth consecutive AFC Central title. Bill Cowher would tie Paul Brown with the most consecutive playoff appearances to start a head coaching career. Ultimately, they would fall to John Elway and the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship.

1999

Pittsburgh fell to 2-2 against Mark Brunell and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kordell Stewart attempted a 10-point comeback in the fourth quarter, but instead gave up back-to-back safeties.

The Steelers actually started the season at 5-3, but lost 7 of their last 8 to finish 6-10, which was the worst record of the Bill Cowher era*.

2003

The Steelers fell to 2-2 in this whupping from Steve McNair and the Tennessee Titans.

Pittsburgh wouldn’t win 2 games in a row all season. They also ended the season at 6-10, which was also the last time the Steelers had a losing record.

2009

Pittsburgh bounced back to 2-2 by striking early and often to take a 28-0 lead against the San Diego Chargers. Philip Rivers would stage a scary fourth quarter comeback, but it was too late for the Bolts, falling 28-38.

Mid-season, the Steelers would suffer a 5-game losing streak, and finished the campaign 9-7. They would lose tie-breakers to the Ravens and Jets and not qualify for the playoffs.

2011

The Steelers fell to 2-2 when Big Ben couldn’t complete the fourth quarter comeback in Houston.

They would only lose two more regular season games, finishing 12-4. However, their winning ways would come to an end when Tim Tebow found Demaryius Thomas in overtime of the Wild Card round.

2012

In the first season after Hines Ward’s retirement, Ben Roethlisberger led a 15-play, game-winning drive in the final 6:33 against Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles to rebound to 2-2.

Pittsburgh would end up losing 5 of their last 7 games to finish 8-8, missing the playoffs.

2014

Pittsburgh fell to 2-2 against the winless Buccaneers when Mike Glennon led a fourth quarter comeback with 40 seconds left in the game.

The Steelers finished the season at 11-5, but lost at home in the Wild Card round to Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens 30-17.

2015

This was the first season without Troy Polamalu and Dick LeBeau. The Michael Vick-led Steelers fell to 2-2 in a heartbreaker against Baltimore, with Josh Scobee missing fourth quarter field goals of 41 and 49 yards. The Ravens would force overtime and win it on Justin Tucker’s leg, despite two Pittsburgh drives in OT that went past Baltimore’s 40-yard-line.

Pittsburgh finished the season at 10-6, and advanced to the AFC Divisional round, where they lost to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.


So in the last 30 years, a 2-2 Steelers team ended up making the playoffs 63.6% of the time. I’ll take those odds in 2023.