Heading into this week, the Steelers needed a win and some additional help from either the Titans or Dolphins by way of a win. Happily, Pittsburgh took care of business against the Baltimore Ravens, notching a win to improve to a 10-7 record in Week 18 (5-1 within the division).
Now, before the postseason, questions will loom surrounding the team’s decision at quarterback moving forward. Mason Rudolph, who has started each of the past three weeks in place of a previously injured Kenny Pickett, has gone 3-0 in that span, throwing for 716 passing yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions for a 120.4 passer rating.
Despite Pickett being medically cleared and ready to play in Week 18, HC Mike Tomlin elected to start Rudolph over Pickett in the pivotal matchup, citing his experience. Though it wasn’t as clean a performance as he’d had in previous weeks, with three fumbles (one lost) that forced some setbacks for the offense, he did just enough with a perfectly placed ball to Diontae Johnson in the fourth quarter to set up a 71-yard touchdown.
2023 will now officially mark the Steelers' first playoff run in the post-Ben Roethlisberger era. Pittsburgh made the postseason in both the 2020 and 2021 seasons, though they haven't managed a playoff win since 2016. That year, the Steelers defeated the Chiefs in Kansas City to advance to the AFC Conference championship, where they went on to lose to the New England Patriots — the soon-to-be Super Bowl Champions.
Though a Wild Card spot is officially a lock, official seeding will be determined by the outcome of the Buffalo Bills-Miami Dolphins game to close out the Week 18 game slate. If the Bills win, the Steelers will have the No. 7 seed in the conference and travel to face the No. 2 Bills, who’d clinch the division with a win. If the Dolphins win, the Steelers will have the No. 6 seed and travel to face the No. 3 Kansas City Chiefs.