After the Steelers sluggishly beat the Ravens to get to 11-0, coach Mike Tomlin was upset. After the Steelers lost their first game of the season the following week to Washington, Tomlin came off as relieved. Tonight, after the Steelers lost their third game in a row, Tomlin seemed resigned to the fact that his team has lost its way.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Tomlin told reporters after the game. “We’re not a good football group right now. And so we understand the consequences that come with that. We’re working on a short week. We’ve got to be better than what we’ve been. And that’s just the reality of it.”
On Sunday, the Steelers host the 10-4 Colts. If Pittsburgh stumbles again and if Cleveland beats the Jets, the Week 17 game between the Steelers and the Browns will decide the AFC North title.
One of the biggest concerns relates to the performance of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who completed 20 of 38 passes for 170 yards with one touchdown, one interception, and a grossly subpar passer rating of 62.4.
“It’s not injury related,” Tomlin said regarding Roethlisberger, who didn’t appear on the injury report with a knee issue (or any other ailment) for the second straight week. “It just wasn’t good enough, like all of us — me included. We’ve got to be better.”
So are the Steelers still confident? “We’d better not be confident after a performance like that,” Tomlin said.
But Tomlin still has some confidence regarding the games to come. When asked whether the situation can be fixed, he provided a one-word answer: “Yes.”
Most Steelers fans, who have witnessed far too many close wins and now three straight defeats, surely feel differently. The Steelers need to get it turned around by Sunday against Indianapolis, or the following Sunday’s game could become an AFC North championship game in Cleveland, one that will be destined to land in prime time to conclude the 2020 NFL regular season.