The Pittsburgh Steelers seemed to have righted the proverbial ship after their second straight win on Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts. After their Week 11 win against the Cleveland Browns, the Steelers took advantage of a Colts team without Andrew Luck, and it has people still asking who the 2016 Steelers really are.
After the game, many asked me in person, and on social media, if I thought the game would have been different if Luck were in the lineup.
Clearly if a Pro Bowl quarterback is able to play it would change the overall complexion of the game. However, the Steelers, or fan base, shouldn’t have to apologize for the win, regardless of who was under center for the Colts.
Take away Scott Tolzien’s two fourth quarter interceptions, and most would agree the Colts’ struggles weren’t centered around their quarterback. The Colts missed golden opportunities, and had several key drops by receivers in the passing game. I doubt anyone would have to apologize for T.Y. Hilton dropping what would have been a gimme 65-yard touchdown pass, right?
Of course not.
The Steelers defense stood tall on more than one occasion, mainly two key goal line situations which resulted in zero Indianapolis points. To the defense’s credit, they sacked Tolzien three times, and had 12 quarterback hits throughout the game. In other words, the Pittsburgh defense did what it should have done against an inexperienced quarterback, and that is put massive amounts of pressure on him. Tolzien made some tremendous throws, but their red-zone failures is ultimately what did them in when it mattered the most.
The question remains of whether the Steelers are a contender or pretender, and the answer to that question very well could come when the New York Giants come to Heinz Field in Week 13, but, until then, the Steelers can sit back, relax and enjoy the fact they didn’t just end their 4-game losing streak, but have started a new streak...a winning streak.
No apologies needed.