Pretty rare break, right?
Just about a year ago, they were getting ready to battle Matt Hasselbeck in a game against Indianapolis at Heinz Field on December 6 (a 45-10 beat-down of the visitors).
The win improved Pittsburgh to 7-5, and nobody seemed to mind very much that Luck was out and the win came against a backup quarterback (even if it was one who once started in Super Bowl XL for the Seahawks).
A week later, it was A.J. McCarron filling in for an injured Andy Dalton in what turned out to be a 33-20 road win over the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
Seven days later, Brock Osweiler, filling in for the injured and close to retiring Peyton Manning, invaded Heinz Field with the rest of the eventual Super Bowl champion Broncos in what became a thrilling 34-27 win that propelled Pittsburgh to 9-5.
A week later, it was a road date with Ryan Mallett and the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium (okay, that didn’t turn out so well).
In the regular season finale, the always bad Browns were the opponents with a spot in the playoffs on the line (was Cleveland’s quarterback a legit starter? It doesn’t matter, because he’d be a backup with any other team).
In the wild card game, there was McCarron once more in an 18-16 road thriller over Cincinnati, which broke a five-year streak of not winning any postseason games. In the divisional road, Manning was Denver’s quarterback (was he Osweiler’s backup or vice versa)?
Unfortunately, that last game didn’t turn out so well, but the point I’m making is that after losing to very accomplished starter Russell Wilson and the rest of the Seahawks on November 29, the Steelers didn’t face a starting quarterback (or starting caliber in the case of the Browns) the rest of the season.
And nobody seemed to care.
However, this year, after two wins over Cody Kessler (a Cleveland quarterback, so automatically a backup) and Tolzien that has improved the Steelers to 6-5 and has kept them in a tie for first place in the AFC North (well, there’s the tiebreaker, but you know), nobody seems to be impressed.
Why is that?
Maybe it’s because of high expectations and the Steelers four-game losing-streak that shadowed the first half of October and second half of November, a streak that was broken by wins over Kessler and Tolzien. I guess, given the proximity, I can see why you’d be less than thrilled with a two-game win-fest.
But it’s like what sports shock jock talk show host and known Steelers hater Mark Madden said the other day: there’s no such thing as false momentum.
After two wins in-which the Steelers scored 52 points and gave up only 16, they have to be feeling pretty darn good about themselves.
Will that momentum be halted this Sunday against Eli Manning, a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback (and bona fide starter), and the rest of the red-hot Giants?
You’re probably thinking: “Show me.”
I’m thinking they will, because I kind of agree with the controversial Madden: there really is no such thing as false momentum.
When you feel good about your looks, does it matter if your mom said you were handsome or if some woman on the street told you so? Either circumstance usually gives you more confidence.
Right now, after 11 sacks and only two touchdowns given up in back-to-back games, the Steelers defense is probably feeling confident.
As for the offense, with one of the best quarterbacks, receivers, running backs and offensive lines in the game, if Todd Haley’s bunch isn’t already walking with a John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever strut, the boys really need to talk to a therapist. Throw in two fairly methodical and dominant performances, and if I was Ben Roethlisberger and Co., I’d be walking around holding a mirror and saying out-loud, “Damn, you’re gorgeous.”
The Steelers two-game winning-streak, regardless of who it was (or wasn’t) against, should have them feeling pretty sexy these days.
Confidence leads to better performance, and better performance usually leads to victory.
I predict a win for the Steelers this Sunday (a pretty decisive win, in-fact), and why not?
Momentum is momentum.
Who were the Browns and Colts starting quarterbacks, again?
I don’t think it matters.