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Terrible Towel Tales: The Steelers’ way of winning won’t work in the playoffs

Steelers news and commentary for Saturday, November 4

Tennessee Titans v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Welcome to the Terrible Towel Tales, where we’ll highlight some of the latest stories permeating Steelers media for your reading pleasure every Monday through Saturday. In today’s news…

Titans QB Disappointed in Steelers Fans | Noah Strackbein, Sports Illustrated

What he thought would have been better was the crowd, which he said he was slightly disappointed in.

“It was pretty loud. I’ve been in louder, so it was nothing crazy,” Levis said. “I think we did a good job of simulating the environment during practice this week of making it even louder than I feel like it was out there. We were good on the operation and the communication, but hey, those fans showed out and they didn’t make it easy for us, but we got the job done for the most part operation-wise.”

Steelers’ approach could get them to playoffs, but it won’t work there | Mike Florio, NBC Sports

It’s great to watch. The Steelers are usually not the better team. They nevertheless have emerged with more points than the other team more often than not. And, at 5-3, they’re in position to make the playoffs, with an outside shot at winning the division.

But what happens when they get there? That’s where Simms’s concerns come from. Unless they somehow win the division, they’ll be on the road. Away from the Field formerly known as Heinz. No Renegade. No (or at least not as many) Terrible Towels.

And no hang-around-and-find-out magic.

It happened two years ago, when an unlikely playoff berth resulted in a date with the Chiefs and a 42-21 blowout loss that was actually worse than the score suggests.

Is there a chance the Steelers improve between now and January? Yes. The current team is good enough to get past Week 18. The current team is not good enough to win a road game in the wild-card round. The current team will quite possibly take a spot away from a team that would have more than a snowball’s chance of advancing beyond the first branch of the playoff tree.

Mark Madden: Think these are the best of times for Steelers? You’re fooling yourself | Mark Madden, Trib Live

He might be Kenny Clutch, but he’s no better than an average quarterback. You can’t base a career on intangibles.

On Thursday, Pickett completed 19 of 30 passes for 160 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.

Zero picks is good. But the Steelers are so deathly afraid of interceptions that most of the risk has been removed from Pickett’s game, which limits his potential for playmaking and keeps him from improving.

It also minimizes George Pickens.

Pickens had just five targets Thursday, catching two for a total of minus-1 yard. He could be seen fuming on the sideline. That figures to become a familiar sight. (Pickens also failed to get two feet down on what should have been a touchdown catch. That’s on him.)