Two wins in a row have the Steelers staying relevant for the time being.
“It was significant getting our first home win and getting our first AFC North win, trying to remain relevant,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. “We’ll do the same as we push forward into our next week’s opportunity.
A win in Oakland and the Steelers will suddenly be creeping back into the wildcard picture and while the playoffs are really a huge longshot after being in an 0-4 hole, what’s intriguing is that there figures to be a bulk of teams fighting it out for the final wildcard spot and the Steelers play several of them, already beating the New York Jets (4-3), Baltimore Ravens (3-4), and still have the likes of Cleveland (3-4) twice, Baltimore again, Buffalo (3-4), and Miami (3-3) still on the schedule when it comes to head to head competition.
Defensively the Steelers have regrouped the past two weeks, though, they haven’t faced great offenses, and the Steelers offense is taking some positive steps and Todd Haley has done a good job of getting creative by running the wildcat and even implementing some plays from Bruce Arians playbook as Ben Roethlisberger asked Haley to put the “shovel pass” in the playbook (used to be a featured play for Hines Ward) this week and the Steelers scored on the play.
But, for the Steelers to really get back into the hunt over the next five to six weeks, the offense has to start putting some points on the board. Pittsburgh is 2-0 the last two weeks, despite scoring just two touchdowns. In four of six games this season, the Steelers have scored just one touchdown.
That isn’t going to get it done in New England Week 9 or when the Detroit Lions come to town Week 12.
When you start 0-4, you have pretty much no room for error. The next four games are going to tell the story of whether the Steelers are truly in the playoff picture and they pretty much need to go 3-1 or better over the next four games where they are @ Oakland, @ New England and home to Buffalo and Detroit.
3-1 is possible with the Detroit game projecting as a huge one with Oakland and Buffalo winnable games.