Once again, the Pittsburgh Steelers have put themselves in a position where they now have to play their best football during the most critical month of the NFL season: December. While playing your best football during the latter half of the year can be something that creates good momentum for the rest of the season, one thing it also tends to create is unnecessary added pressure that some younger teams just can’t overcome. Although the Steelers are not out of the playoff race by any means, they leave themselves with about a month to separate from the other contenders in the AFC. With an 18-year veteran at the quarterback position like Ben Roethlisberger, situations like these do become easier to go through, but nonetheless, it is still a difficult challenge left ahead, especially with how this season seems to be turning out.
That being said, this past weekend’s 41-10 loss vs the Cincinnati Bengals was a complete 180 degree turn from what we have seen the past few weeks. After coming off 5 straight games without throwing an interception, Roethlisberger was responsible for a total of 3 turnovers (2 interceptions and 1 fumble) this past weekend and gave their division rivals optimal field position on each turnover that allowed the Bengals to ultimately win the football game. After struggling as an offense through the first four weeks of the season, it finally felt like the Steelers have been getting on the right track on that side of the football, allowing for a nice 4-game win streak to arise. The Steelers were playing their best football as of late and hoped to continue that streak into this past weekend. Obviously that was not the case and we can only hope it was a fluke type of game for both sides of the ball.
Whether or not that was the case, the mentality around this football team is still going to remain the same. Like I stated before, this team is still very much in the playoff hunt with a little more than a month left in the season. They have already gathered a few wins against a couple of contenders in the AFC that may help at giving them an advantage once the playoff seedings are officially made. The Steelers remaining six games are all against teams that are in the playoff race, so the road does not look like it is getting any easier from this point on. No matter the path, the Steelers will be playing their typical brand of football, tough and gritty with a playoff berth still an option.
After the blowout loss to the Bengals this weekend, Roethlisberger himself was asked about the mentality he had towards the end of the game. Some even questioned why he was still behind center facing a 38-point deficit in the second half of the game. He responded with:
“Games like this show a lot down the end — down the stretch of the game. It shows about a person, a team’s character, their will, their heart. When you’re down a bazillion points at the end of the game, do guys quit? Do they stop fighting? Do they give up a little bit? Or do they continue to fight and fight for each other?” He continued. “I didn’t ask coach [Tomlin] to come out because there’s a Steeler way. It’s fighting to the end. I thought for the most part, we did that. Guys showed their character at the end of the game, and who continued to fight, who continued to get extra yards?” Roethlisberger concluded on the topic by saying, “Games like this are when [your heart] that’s revealed.”
No, we don’t know the outcome of these final six games and there is no way to project how we see the AFC playoff race is going to turn out. What we do know is with a leader like Roethlisberger at the helm, this team will not be seen giving up. They will fight to the very end no matter what, and I can guarantee you this team will still be in the playoff hunt up until the last day of the season with berths on the line. I may sound biased, but I have watched too much Steeler football over my years to count Roethlisberger and the Steelers out and the same will be said this season. This NFL season has been a weird one and everyone in the AFC is seemingly within a game or two of each other, there is still a lot of football left with a bunch of different outcomes. There is no need to panic just yet.
WATCH FULL POST GAME INTERVIEW HERE :
Ben Roethlisberger speaks to the media following the game against Cincinnati. pic.twitter.com/tfxQebPMVV
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 28, 2021
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