The perception of the Pittsburgh Steelers has made a dramatic change in the matter of two weeks from a mediocre team to now being looked at as a team on the rise. Are they suddenly a contender in the AFC?
That answer will come six days from now.
Sunday night’s game vs Baltimore will be a true barometer on whether the perception of the Steelers goes from fringe playoff team to regarded as being in that second tier of AFC contenders under the Denver Broncos.
A poor performance vs Baltimore and the perception of the Steelers will be back to you never know what your going to get from them on a week to week basis. That might actually be the best way to look at this team for now.
Whether the Steelers get back to the playoffs for the first time in three years is going to depend on the arm of Ben Roethlisberger and the offense growing into one that can consistently put teams away.
Aside from yesterday, it’s been a glaring problem for over two years now.
What to make of the Steelers sudden surge of being a ball hawking defense?
It has started with the front seven and no surprise getting consistent pressure.
Cam Heyward’s play has been much improved the last three games, along with the Steelers two best defensive players, Lawrence Timmons and Jason Worilds.
Heyward has a sack and 13 combined QB Hurries/Hits over his last three games. Timmons is back to playing like a dominant sideline to sideline linebacker.
Worilds graded out as the Steelers best defensive player vs the Colts. Worilds has no sacks since Week 5 but his ability to pressure the quarterback have been as good as sacks, hence ending drives.
The Steelers, though, have relied on some old dogs to be game changers of late in Brett Keisel and James Harrison.
Harrison proved Sunday he can still be a difference maker.
“It was great to see James Harrison showing glimpses of James Harrison,” Mike Tomlin said following Sunday’s game. “He’s worked his tail off to kind of get to this spot. He’s starting to show us what he’s capable of.”
How long is this going to last?
Despite the strides the Steelers defense has made the last two games, this is still going to be a unit that is going to consistently give up a lot of points against good offenses.