By: Sean McGeown, @seanpmcgeown
Going into Sunday afternoon, there were only three undefeated teams left in the NFL: the Seattle Seahawks, the Tennessee Titans, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Going into Week 8, there is now only one, and it’s not the Titans or the Seahawks.
Thats right, the Steelers are now the only undefeated team in the NFL, sitting at 6-0 atop of the entire league. We all know it’s a long season, but right now that feels pretty darn good.
They went into Tennessee and won a nail biter against another undefeated team, putting to rest any of the narratives that they haven’t faced a good opponent yet. It started out strong for the Steelers. They got the ball and opened up the game with a 16-play, 75-yard drive and snapped their streak of 23 games without an opening drive touchdown. Ben Roethlisberger ended the streak with an 11-yard strike to Diontae Johnson. He later found Johnson again on a 9-yard touchdown to extend their lead to 24-7.
All was looking well until the Titans took control of the second half with a slow Steeler offense and a couple of timely turnovers. Their lead evaporated to 27-24, and Tennessee had the ball in their hands with the clock winding down to end the game. The defense came through, and after a missed field goal by Stephen Gostkowski, the Steelers set up victory formation for the sixth time this year.
The whole team was floored when Gostkowski missed the attempt, especially Roethlisberger who couldn’t believe his eyes:
Big Ben's reaction to Gostkowski's missed field goal is amazing:
"Did he miss that?" pic.twitter.com/8nyiI3RXlq
— Samuel Gold (@SamuelRGold) October 25, 2020
It wasn’t a perfect performance, but going into an undefeated team’s house most likely never will be. It was a total team effort. The defense made mega star Derrick Henry find tough sledding, holding him to 75 yards. TJ Watt and Vince Williams were flying around the field, with 5 combined TFL and a sack each, and Robert Spillane filled in more than admirably for the injured Devin Bush, even adding a highlight to his career reel:
First start of his career and Robert Spillane meets Derrick Henry at the goal line and stuffs him.
What a play, Spillane is tough as nails. That’s what Steelers football is all about. pic.twitter.com/vyken2Y6BA
— Daniel Valente (@StatsGuyDaniel) October 25, 2020
Not many people have the bravery to meet Henry in the trenches, nor the physicality to stop him. Bravo sir. The defense also kept their sack streak alive, and are now at 63 consecutive games with a sack. The offense has also scored 26 or more points in all of their games this year.
The Steelers are now looking ahead to their trip to Baltimore to face the 5-1 Ravens, where Lamar Jackson and company are coming off their rescheduled bye week. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin says they need to prepare urgently against a team that has seven days rest on their side.
For now though, the Steelers should take this one in and enjoy it. They’ve earned it.