It’s odd to say that an 11-2 team may be desperate, but such may be the case with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers began the season with 11 straight victories but have looked ugly in dropping their last two games. A win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday would end their slide as the postseason draws near. A victory would also get the Steelers into the record books – at least for now.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were off to a hot start
In 2019, the Pittsburgh Steelers made something out of a tough situation. They lost quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a season-ending elbow injury during the second game of the year. Head coach Mike Tomlin had to juggle between a pair of unknown quarterbacks in Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges. The Steelers remained in the playoff hunt, but came up short and finished 8-8.
With Roethlisberger back in action in 2020, the Steelers did some damage. They got off to an 11-0 start, but weren’t overly impressive in doing so. Five of the 11 wins came by five points or less. The came into their Week 9 game against the lowly Dallas Cowboys as a two-touchdown favorite and trailed by 10 points heading into the fourth quarter.
Like all good teams, however, they battled back for a 24-19 win over Dallas. To go undefeated, teams usually need some luck and the Steelers had that as well. Playing against division rival Baltimore Ravens in their season rematch, the Ravens were severely short-handed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and played without quarterback Lamar Jackson and their top two running backs, among others.
The Steelers have suddenly hit a roadblock
In Week 13, the Pittsburgh Steelers entered as another heavy favorite against the Washington Football Team. It was a home game that had been pushed back to Monday night after the Steelers had just played the Ravens on a rare Wednesday. Washington stunned the Steelers, winning 23-17 and handing Pittsburgh its first loss of the season.
‘It stinks,” Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said, according to CBS Sports. ”Been a while since we lost a game. It’s not a good feeling.” It didn’t get any better the following week when the Steelers traveled to Buffalo. The Bills, leaders in the AFC East, handed the Steelers their second straight loss, winning 26-15.
“We’ve lost two. We’re facing some adversity. But we’re not hitting the panic button,” Roethlisberger said, according to ESPN. “Offensively, we’re not very good. We’re not playing good football and it starts with me. I think this is a team that has got a lot of resilience and understands what it takes to win football games and understands what time of year it is and right now it’s unacceptable.”
The Steelers can get into the record books on Monday Night Football
The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to the playoffs. They just need to turn things around before getting there. A win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday will do just that. Not only will a win over the Bengals end a two-game slide, it will vault the Steelers into the record books – at least for the time being.
Technically, the Pittsburgh Steelers are tied with the San Francisco 49ers for most wins on Monday Night Football with 49 apiece. According to USA Today, the Steelers actually have 51 wins on Mondays, but one came in 1955 before Monday Night Football was born and the other came in 2017 when the NFL put out two Christmas Day football games. Had the Steelers defeated the Washington Football team on Monday, Dec. 7, that wouldn’t have counted either. That game was moved because the Steelers had just played on a Wednesday.
So, when it comes to true Monday Night Football games, the Steelers and 49ers remain tied at 49 apiece. The 49ers had their chance to snap the tie when they played the Buffalo Bills in a true MNF game the same night the Steelers played the Washington Football team. Buffalo won, 34-24.