Steelers AFC North Hopes Have Vanished Into The Black Hole

Any hopes that the Pittsburgh Steelers had of winning the AFC North vanished into the Black Hole Sunday in their 21-18 loss to the Oakland Raiders.

The Steelers loss dropped them to 2-5 on the season and thanks to the Cincinnati Bengals blowing out the New York Jets, Pittsburgh now sits four wins behind in the AFC North win column with just nine games left to play in the season.

So with the division now out of the picture, the only thing the Steelers can hope for is a Wild Card spot. Baring a monumental collapse, either the Denver Broncos or the Kansas City Chiefs will lock up one of the two Wild Card spots, so that leaves the Steelers battling for the remaining one.

In order to get that lone remaining spot, however, the Steelers will at worst need to go 7-2 to close out the season and possibly get some help. The way they played Sunday against the Raiders, even that looks like a pipe dream.


    You’re hysterical!

  • SteelersDepot

    Your reading compehension down?

  • ND_Steel

    Playoffs?! You’re talking playoffs? Playoffs!?
    What’s funny is we haven’t played a single top tier team this year, unless you count Cincy and I don’t…no Denver, KC, NE, NO, Sea, SF…this has been a weak schedule and we are just that bad.

  • SteelersDepot

    What part of pipe dream do you people not understand?

  • AndyR34

    Now Dave…you are assuming that reading and comprehension go together with these folks!

  • SG

    The Steelers hopes of a division title were dashed after going 0-4. Their wild card hopes were just dashed today. The season is a wash, it’s done.

  • Virdin Barzey

    Mike Tomlin rightfully took the blame for this game because the team was not prepared. How could they not be prepared is beyond me. Coming of a big win and the season on the line. Not to mention the record now against Oakland is embarrassing. You can’t tell me they don’t know that.

    Different team in the second half especially on defense. Just reeks of an unprepared team not ready to play. That’s coaching folks. Offense still looks inept…..just about halfway into the season. Completely unacceptable.

    I knew this team isn’t Superbowl, Playoff or winning season bound but the losses against poor teams is a statement in the wrong direction.

  • Let’s be honest, they pretty much have to win out to have any control over their own destiny.

  • “Mike Tomlin rightfully took the blame for this game because the team was not prepared.”

    Happens all too often if you ask me.

  • Mike.H

    Not quite time yet, but I just dusted off the vinyl of ex MNF color common-tater [pun], Don Meredith…

    Please, all together now, [ Texan drawl’ optional]… [ holding hands optinal]…

    “… Turn out the lights, party’s over….”… approved, nodded with a smile by Howard Cosell.

  • MC

    One thing I’d like to know, WHY THE F**** CAN’T THIS TEAM EVER RECOVER A LOOSE BALL?

  • Addison

    Can’t wait for this podcast

  • Fire.Mike.Tomlin

    Maybe. Finally— MAYBE. Tomlin will quit getting a free pass for winning a SB with an inherited SB capable roster. Some actual criticism from the majority of the fanbase would be nice for a change.

  • Fire.Mike.Tomlin


  • Fire.Mike.Tomlin

    the REAL question at this point is— (last season’s futile week 17 win aside…)
    is this team smart enough to do what it NEEDS to do.

  • ND_Steel

    A little touchy Dave? I think we understand, but just in case:

    A “pipe dream”, meaning “a fantastic hope or plan that is generally regarded as being nearly impossible to achieve.”

    This phrase first popped up in the 19th century, with the earliest known documented case coming from Chicago, Illinois; specifically, coming from the December of 1890 issue of the Chicago Daily Tribune, in this case referring to aerial navigation: “It has been regarded as a pipe-dream for a good many years.”

    Yet another reference in Chicago, in September of 1895, demonstrates the true origin of phrase in terms of meaning, namely, as a reference to the dreams experienced when smoking opium.

  • Eric

    Its time to start thinking about 2014 salary cap and draft choices

  • Fire.Mike.Tomlin

    That was 3 weeks ago actually.
    I thought we were going to play ourselves out of the LT / Evans/ Clowney sweepstakes, but then this week comes around, and Tomlin reminded me not to give this team any hope. LOL.

  • ND_Steel

    It’s ok, I think we are all on edge having seen our season go up in flames after another lack luster performance.

    To “go up in flames”,
    1. Lit. to burn up completely. The entire forest went up in flames! The expensive house went up in smoke.

    2. Fig. [for value or investment] to be lost suddenly and totally. Everything we own has gone up….
    ….well you get the idea…lol
    Can’t wait for the Pod.

  • Mike.H

    Dave, saw your twitter posts about poor time management end of the game. Who else could call time out besides the head coach?

  • Michael Briscoe

    I wanted to throw my 3 cents in to this pot, First everyweek its the same ole bs with these Steelers, they don’t look good at all period. Offense line is a joke D line is a joke Linebackers outside of Woodley and Timmons are weak, Clark is done. That said the FO needs to be accountable for the talent, or lack there of and the coaching staff needs to understand that the schemes are not working. This is the bottom barrel of the talent tree and the new blood don’t know how to play Steeler ball


    We still have a chance. It’s a long-shot, but it still could happen. Never give up until it’s definitely over.

    -Steel M A Niac

  • Brendon Glad

    Few Steelers teams in my lifetime have been less enjoyable to watch. (born 1971)….I can think of 1990-91…A couple teams from the first Stewart meltdown/Tomczak/Graham era….then this one. I spend most of every game in a bad mood. (the Ravens game being the only exception so far) Too many things to complain about, so I’m sticking with that.

  • T R


  • steeltown

    I’ll be watching every game this season, but not with the belief that we’ll make the playoffs or that we’d make any noise if we do…. I’ll be watching to view these young guys progress and of course, to watch Keisel who sadly may have this atrocious season be his last.


    No, I understood your article perfectly. I was simply complimenting you on your ability to make me laugh. Thanks!

  • Mike Carroll

    I don’t think preparation is the main issue. Rather, a lack of talent is the biggest problem. The old players are old and the young guys are not very good (at least not yet). The Oline and Dline are both below average and there are practically no explosive playmakers anywhere on this roster which can help overcome mistakes in a game. Instead, the last 2 years have shown that the Steelers need near perfect execution of their game plan to squeak out 3 point wins. That’s because the players themselves are nothing exceptional.

  • Ahmad

    I’m putting this one on Tomlin. This team was not properly prepared to play yesterday and I want an answer as to why and not the usual fancy rhetoric. It just makes me sick that we lost to the Raiders AGAIN! I mean goodness gracious how many times do we have to lose to these guys before we finally wake up and play them seriously? It’s ridiculous!

  • joed32

    Ben says he was waiting on the refs to make a make a call on what he thought was a horse collar tackle on the play before. He says they were discussing it and decided not to call it and by the time he got behind the center the play clock was about to run out so he called the time out. None of the coaches called time out, Ben did.


    Very disappointing outcome to say the least…but I think I now have a pretty clear view of what this team is all about.

    The guys are responding to Tomlin and staff during the half-time adjustments…I was really proud of the way they came out in the second half and established the LOS with the run…if a professional can make a couple of FGs inside 40 yds, maybe there’s a different outcome. Clearly the DEF was more physical in the 2nd half as well.

    Inside the 30 on OFC, I don’t see enough playmakers with size. Plain and simple.

  • westcoasteeler

    I missed the first thirty seconds of the game cause CBS didn’t broadcast it in SoCal. What happened? Oh, our season slipped through our bad tackling.

  • westcoasteeler

    You’re my boy Brett!!

  • Luke Shabro

    Tomlin is to blame. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t responsible for helping win Super Bowl XLIII or getting to Super Bowl XLV. Regardless of the “inherited” roster Tomlin had, that is still not an easy feat. This year and last year, this team has failed to be prepared at critical points, and that falls on Tomlin. As the head coach you are commanding officer of this ship so you’re overall responsible for all of it. Tomlin is poor at game management and clock management. Maybe he should be fired, maybe he shouldn’t. I would be highly disappointed if the Rooneys made a snap, in-season firing but I don’t see them doing that. Lets take a look at the season as a whole at the end of the year and then ownership will decide what to do. Regardless of what happens it’s idiotic to take away what Tomlin has done in the pass even if it doesn’t give him a pass for terrible performances now.

  • Luke Shabro

    This team comes out flat as 4 week opened pop. It’s like they play with passion and fire when it’s already too late. They’re so good right now at making these games look closer than they really were.

  • Callentown

    So much to say about how many ways this Steelers team failed yesterday and it seems many have already posted about it all.

    I’m just curious, after another THREE O-lineman get hurt yesterday, DAVE are there stats that show team injury comparisons?? I don’t recall any team losing three of five O-lineman anytime recently in one game, but something odd is happening on this team.

    I’m curious to see how total injuries as well as injured for the season injuries stack up against the rest of the NFL.

    And yes, 93 to Prior, unprepared again, bad T/0 call,etc..

  • Callentown

    Dave, I really think that people are just so frustrated with this team that hearing about playoffs causes annoyance at this point.

    You are doing your job and what you do, we get that. No worries.

    But seeing 2-5, with 2-6 likely and no hopes for this season, again, well that’s not how I like to begin a Monday.

    So, with the first pick in the 2014 draft, the Steelers select..


    Idk the answer…I don’t recall seeing 3 OL go down in one game (Foster is a concussion so probably not long term). That said, I think CHI loss 9 starters this season, and more than a couple of those to season ending IR.


    Go right ahead…plenty blame to go around…but when your kicker misses 2 FG inside 40 yds I can’t put this one Tomlin.

  • Rednecksrule

    And if that means that Heyward and Hood get to start. Opposing offenses will be exhausted from the success they will have!

  • Rednecksrule

    I think if you lose to Tennessee, Minnesota, Oakland and you are 2-5 with a moribund offense, it is pretty silly to work out how the Steelers can back into the playoffs. The schedule now gets worse. The question is, is how many seasons will it take to win again. Next year doesn’t look promising either. The defense will continue to decline with age. The patchwork offensive line never seems to solidify. They have to get a left offensive tackle one of these days. Big Ben is a hit away from being out of football. He has racked up so many potential physical issues that he is old for his 30 some years. So let’s stop all this silly talk about playoffs….

  • steeltown

    Heyward has been solid as a starter

  • Virdin Barzey

    I completely disagree about the talent in this game against the Raiders. Maybe against better teams you may be correct but this is clearly not a very good Raiders team as you saw in the second half where they never scored again. They shouldn’t have scored period but this Steelers team is just not coached well and not playing up to their potential. Add in injuries and 2-5 is just about right.


    IMO Tomlin took the bullet for his place kicker…LY I bought into the not ready to play stuff…TY, especially after an 0-4 start no…If anything the 2nd half shows the team is still responding to Tomlin.

    I shared the same thoughts as your last paragraph, but as some point I think we as fans have to realize…the talent is not as good as we thought. Mclendon is NOT a legit NT, sad to say, but Williams is NOT as good as Foote, Worilds/J. Jones are NOT as good as Harrison, Adams/Beachum are NOT as good as Starks…in some cases they might get there, but not now. I could on but I think you get the point.

    Not saying Tomlin should not shoulder the blame…Maybe another HC would get more, but I don’t get that sense right now.


    Spot on…not giving Tomlin a pass, the DEF timeout (about the 2:20 mark) before the half when OAK was deep in the RZ about to score imo was stupid…save that for when you get the ball back…but I agree 100% the talent overall is less than what many Steeler fans think.

  • Fr33th1nk3r

    2006 was all the proof Tomlin haters need, that just having the roster does not win you Superbowls. They have to have a quality coach.
    As of right now– you are probably the gazillionth Steeler fan that has taken a username like “fire tomlin” this weekend (greatest fanbase? LOL)– but never providing a solid alternative as to who YOU think should be coaching this team.

  • pdupuis

    I’m glad I came here to read this article. It was my laugher on a horrible Monday.

  • mexicomagico

    hand on hand Tomlin and Haley must go A.S.A.P.

  • Fire.Mike.Tomlin

    Yes, when your franchise QB nearly dies, gets appendicitis, has little practice, and then a big concussion (IIRC) the first half of your season is gonna pretty much end your chances that year.