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Knee-jerk analysis: An off-season of questions awaits the Steelers after wild card loss to Bills

The Steelers season is over, and a long off-season awaits them

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

And with that, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ season is over.

The Steelers fell victim to the Buffalo Bills in the wild card round by a score of 31-17 and have been eliminated from the NFL playoffs.

The game got out of hand early. The Steelers did nothing with the opening drive, which ended in one of many miserable Pressley Harvin punts. The Bills then marched 80 yards in 10 plays to score on a Dawson Knox touchdown reception. The next three Steelers drives went as follows:

  • Three-and-out
  • One play, fumble
  • Three-and-out

The Bills added two additional touchdowns in the midst of that mess to go up 21-0. The Steelers looked as if they had life, getting inside the 10 yard-line before a Kaiir Elam interception for the Bills ended the hopes of points. That said, the Steelers wouldn’t stay down. A blocked field goal late in the second quarter set the Steelers up in plus territory. Five plays later, Diontae Johnson caught a touchdown pass from Mason Rudolph.

The Steelers made it a game in the second half. They immediately held the Bills to a three-and-out and got three on the other end. After a Buffalo field goal, Calvin Austin capped off a 12-play drive with a touchdown to make it a one-score game. Ultimately, though Buffalo was too much.

And I don’t just mean the Bills were too much down the stretch, although they put together a tremendous drive capped off by an incredible effort by Khalil Shakir that acted as the metaphorical dagger in Pittsburgh’s heart. In general, the Steelers were just outmatched. Not having T.J. Watt put them at an automatic disadvantage on the defensive side, and multiple Myles Jack penalties hurt them late.

It wasn’t just the penalties. It wasn’t just not having Watt. It was the fact that the Steelers don’t have a guy that can square off with Josh Allen. They don’t have a guy that can single-handedly take over a game under center and run for a 52 yard score and throw for three more. And in the current landscape where the AFC fields the likes Patrick Mahomes, Allen, Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, Trevor Lawrence, and now C.J. Stroud who is showing he is a star, the Steelers cannot seriously look at what they have and not make a move this off-season. But if history tells us anything, they will. That said, Omar Khan is not Kevin Colbert, so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and hope that he realizes the biggest issue at hand for the Steelers. If you have no quarterback, you have no shot. Especially in this conference.

It will be a long off-season that needs to be full of changes. Both on the coaching staff and on the field. There are plenty of quality offensive coordinator candidates out there- go get one. There are multiple options at quarterback to either sign or acquire via trade- go get one. Plus the need for a new center, left tackle, and help in the secondary. This can’t be a “Same old Steelers” off-season, It needs to be one of action.