Perfect Just 3 Weeks Ago, the Steelers’ Season Is Falling Apart

The Steelers sit at 11-3 after losing to the last-place Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night

Perfect Just 3 Weeks Ago, the Steelers' Season Is Falling Apart
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Marcus Allen reacts in a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

To paraphrase Jay-Z, it was all good just three weeks ago.

Heading into a Week 13 matchup against the Washington Football Team, the Pittsburgh Steelers were undefeated at 11-0 and had an opportunity to clinch their first playoff berth since 2017.

But, instead of pushing their record to 12-0 with a win at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh blew a 14-point lead (the second-largest blown lead at home in franchise history) and lost to the WFT. The Steelers haven’t won since.

Now at 11-3 after losing three in a row, Pittsburgh’s latest defeat came against the last-place Cincinnati Bengals — who entered the game as 14.5-point underdogs — last evening on Monday Night Football.

The Steelers let the Bengals — who were forced into using third-string scrub Ryan Finley at quarterback after losing second-stringer Brandon Allen and starter Joe Burrow to injury — build a 17-0 halftime lead and were unable to do enough to come back in the second half, ultimately falling 27-17.

Though the Steelers have clinched a playoff berth, Pittsburgh has fallen off the pace for the No. 1 seed in the AFC and are now third in the conference behind the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs and No. 2 Buffalo Bills.

Pittsburgh could have wrapped up the AFC North with a win but now will have to win against either the Indianapolis Colts (10-4) or division rival Cleveland Browns (10-4) to take home first place. The way Pittsburgh, who nearly lost to the Ravens the week before losing to the WFT, has been playing for the last month, a victory in the next two weeks is far from a guarantee.

With Ben Roethlisberger, who went 20-of-38 for 170 yards, one touchdown, one interception and a poor passer rating of 62.4 against the Bengals, at the helm, Pittsburgh’s offense has been held under 20 points for four straight games and has been turning the ball over more often than scoring touchdowns.

Once a strength of the team thanks to a talented core of young wide receivers and Roethlisberger’s veteran savvy, the Pittsburgh passing game has been ineffective of late and the Steeler running game, which has failed to account for more than 100 yards since Week 6, has been unable to pick up the slack.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin told reporters after the loss to the Bengals. “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.”

If they can’t be better over the next two weeks than they’ve been over the previous three, the Steelers are going to be one-and-done in the playoffs.

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