In a weird sort of way, I was hoping for a Steelers loss against Buffalo on Sunday. Now, don't get your Terrible Towels in a twist (although, a twirl would be cool). I wasn't openly rooting for a loss. It's just that, in all the years I've been alive (41 1/2 as of Tuesday, thank you very much), I've never actually witnessed my favorite professional football team lose 12 times in a 16 game stretch. I've seen 5-11 once (1988), 6-10 thrice (1986, 1999, 2003), and I've witnessed the Steelers lose 18 times in a 24 game stretch (the end of 1998 through the first month of 2000), but 12 losses in 16 games? That's the stuff of true suffering. Sure, 18 out of 24 (or a .250 winning percentage) is pretty bad, but when it's stretched out over the course of three seasons, it dilutes the nausea.
Starting with their loss to Baltimore in Week 11 of last season, and their mostly continuous losing since, the Steelers had a chance to achieve that 4-12 stretch that I was after. Sadly, thanks to Pittsburgh's 23-10 victory over the Bills at Heinz Field on Sunday, I still don't know what it's like to experience a .200 winning percentage over a 16 game period.
I know a few Lions fans, and it's no secret that they've experienced that kind of stretch many times over the years (no offense to them), but me? I haven't been alive long enough to feel that kind of pain.
Dick LeBeau was still playing in Motown the last time the Steelers truly sucked on a Detroit level. Yes, all the way back in 1969--the legendary Chuck Noll's first year as head coach--Pittsburgh lost its last 13 games and then started the 1970 season by losing three straight. The fact that Noll managed to keep his job is amazing because he certainly wasn't a legend at that point.
But enough about that kind of stuff. On a sane level, I'm glad I didn't have to experience a 12th loss in such a condensed time-frame because it would have just led to more trade rumors (like Mike Tomlin going to Siberia, for example). And with two months left in the season, I'm simply not ready to speculate on the draft or pretend that I know what the Steelers really need.
Anyway, regardless of any perverse curiosity I might have with true sports suffering, it's no secret being a Steelers fan hasn't been much fun as of late, as if you didn't already know that based on the not-so-fun 3-6 record. Pittsburgh is probably going to miss the playoffs for a second straight season, and we're probably in for at least a few more months of teeth gnashing, Internet fighting and perhaps more trade rumors. As a fan and a writer who will no doubt publish some critical articles in the coming weeks and months, I know I'll have to defend my Steelers love at least a few times, and man, that's going to take a lot of energy.
I really need something to keep me going, and that something is a good old fashioned Steelers butt-whipping. Not just a blah win over a team with Thaddeus Lewis, Geno Smith or E.J. Manuel, the starting quarterbacks of three of the previous four opponents that Pittsburgh has actually defeated, leading the way, but a true slaughter (and it doesn't really matter who the QB is).
When was the last time Pittsburgh really laid one on an opponent? I'm talking about a beating so thorough, it felt good from your head down to your toes?
You ever hear pass rushers talk about the feeling they get when they know they're about to deliver a vicious hit on a helpless quarterback? That's the kind of victory I'm talking about.
Just like the drought of 4-12 stretches, I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever see the Steelers beat up on an opponent again. I know it's a transition phase, and Pittsburgh's talent is lacking in many areas, but man, even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometime.
You have to go back to Christmas Eve of 2011 to find the last time the Steelers won a game by three touchdowns or more--a 27-0 victory over St. Louis.
Speaking of the Rams, even they got to deliver a thorough beat-down this past Sunday--a 38-8 victory in Indianapolis against Andrew Luck, of all Golden Boys.
Back to the Steelers. Not only haven't they won a game by three touchdowns in a very long time, when they led 23-3 over Buffalo, late in Sunday's game, it marked the first time that they actually had at least a 20 point lead over an opponent at any time in any game, dating back to that previously mentioned St. Louis game.
Like Stone Cold Steve Austin used to say, someone needs to get their a** whipped!
Maybe that someone is Detroit. I know the Lions are 6-3, and they have Calvin Johnson, Reggie Rush and a ton of other fire-power that has helped them average over 26 points a game, but damn it, it's just time for a blow-out victory.
Besides, as I covered in a previous article, the Lions are an NFC team, and whenever one of those teams visits Heinz Field, it's not normally a pleasant plane ride back to wherever they came from.
To update my self-plagiarism, the Steelers are now 21-3-1, all-time at Heinz Field against NFC opponents. And the dominance isn't just in the win/loss column. Pittsburgh has outscored its NFC guests 653-391.
Why? I don't know, and I don't care. All I know is it's been a while since I've experienced the fan version of a vicious hit on a helpless quarterback.
Sunday, at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, I will get that hit, and it's going to feel good.
Time to unleash hell, or whatever.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Foster may miss early practice time with high ankle sprain
- Five Burning Questions for Week 11
- Marshall's comments can serve as motivation for NFC North-leading Lions
- Ben admits ignorance when it comes to his contract
- Lions vs. Steelers: Shamarko Thomas ruled out in Week 11
- Steelers Film Room: Steelers take control in the trenches
- BTSC Week 11 Power Rankings
- It's hard for Haley to ignore the chip on Jonathan Dwyer's shoulder
- Ben Trade Rumors: Rapoport stands by his story in wake of mounting criticism