The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Denver Broncos at Heinz Field in a Sunday afternoon game that saw the Steelers defense both struggle and shine and the Steelers offense pick apart the best defense in the NFL. The Steelers kept their playoff hopes alive with a win against the Broncos, but there are still a few concerns for the Black and Gold as they move into the last two weeks of the regular season.
Offensive Line- Chill Out
No Pouncey? No Beachum? No problem. Even without Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey and tackle Kelvin Beachum, the Steelers offensive line is holding up just fine. While they do not function at an A-level, they do get an A for Adequacy. Sometimes they give up sacks. Sometimes they struggle in run blocking. More often than not, however, they have done enough to give Ben Roethlisberger the time he needs to make big plays and running back DeAngelo Williams the opportunity to pick up yardage.
Inconsistency of the Team- Freak Out
The Steelers secondary can function well, and it can completely fail to function. The run defense can be OK, and it can be horrible. Most of the time, the pass defense is dismal, and most of the time, special teams have struggled. Still, there are many times the defense can stop the pass and shut down opposing offenses, and there have even been times special teams has made big plays (beyond the work of kicker Chris Boswell). Mistakes are also frustrating. Lapses in judgment, penalties, clock management mistakes, and odd play calls can make the Steelers an incredibly frustrating team to watch. The Steelers can be one of the best teams in the league. They can also look like one of the worst depending on the day and the play. Consistency will be key to a successful playoff run. For now, they haven't demonstrated the ability to play at top-level game after game, quarter after quarter, and even play after play.
Playoffs- Chill Out
The Steelers did what they needed to do in Week 15 to keep their playoff hopes alive- they beat the Denver Broncos. According to the New York Times playoff simulator, the Steelers have a 91% chance of making the playoffs. I like those odds.