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Steelers Playoff Chances Took A Hit Thursday Night, But They’re Still Not Dead


The Pittsburgh Steelers loss Thursday night to the Baltimore Ravens was a big one. While it certainly hurt their chances of making the playoffs, they are still not completely out of the picture. They will, however, need some help and that help needs to begin on Sunday.

First off, it would probably be wise to hope the Cincinnati Bengals beat the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. The Chargers, along with the Ravens, are the two teams that I believe are the biggest threat to land the final AFC Wild Card spot. Keep in mind that the Chargers still have the New York Giants, Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs remaining on their schedule and it wouldn't hurt for them to lose at least two of their remaining games.

As far as the Tennessee Titans go, the Steelers need them to lose to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday and the Denver Broncos the following week. Remember the Titans own tie breakers over the Steelers, so they must lose one more game as a result.

I don't consider the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins as teams worth worrying about. Why? The Steelers already hold tie breakers over the Jets and that will also be the case with the Dolphins, assuming the Steelers beat them next week.

As for the Ravens, they still have the Detroit Lions, New England Patriots and the Bengals left on their schedule. We need to root for at least two more loses.

Needless to say, it would be helpful if the Steelers run the table and that means beating both the Bengals and the Green Bay Packers. Sure, they can still get in with an 8-8 record, but the only loss they can suffer would be to the Packers and they will be doing a lot of scoreboard watching during Week 17 more than likely if they do, as it could come down to them needing the Ravens to lose to the Bengals.

Running the table from here on out should do the trick, still, but a loss to the Dolphins, Bengals or Browns, will surely do them in.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • TheBurgh805

    Will see what u say on DA podcast ha

  • CrazyTerry

    There were two moves that I hated before the season. Retaining Sanders and not only losing 2.5M of cap space but losing out on a 3rd round pick. I highly doubt Sanders will fetch much in free agency to give Steelers a decent comp pick. Sanders has been exposed as a guy who is just not reliable. You give him a soft toss in space and he will create some moves. if he is hte third or fourth read on a play, he is a valuable receiver if he can find a soft spot in the D and let Ben toss him the ball and let Sanders natural moves get some yards after the catch. But what he is not is a reliable receiver who can grab plays down the sideline when there is a corner bearing down on him. He doesnt seem to track those sideline throws well. He gets nervous at times on those bang bang plays like the final TD attempt.
    So thids brings me to the main point. Why would you have Sanders as your first read on that final play? Sure, ask him to run around and look for an open area as Ben tries to find Heath or Crotchery open, or even AB who while great all ove rthe field hasn’t been the most reliable receiver in the end zone.
    The other move I hated was keeping Ike. Not thsat iI thought he would be this bad this season. I have respect for his past work. I just thought we should trade him while his stock was still decent to have teams interesting in tfrying to get him at his salary. even worse was redoing his contract for cap purposes in the middle of the season even after it became obvious he was on a decline. Yes, he had two nice plays in the game, but most DBs made some plays in this game. He is not playing anywhere close to his salary level and that is exposing key valuable role players like Will Allen who are simply not good enough to be consistently good.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I agree with most of what you said. Overall, I think Sanders is an average receiver and I personally would’ve chosen a different play for the final snap of the game.

    I think Ben/Haley decided that Chykie Brown was the worst CB on the field and they were going to attack him no matter which WR he was covering (which happened to be Sanders) and I can see the logic in that.

    The problem with that line of thinking is… there is a reason why the Ravens put their worst DB on Sanders. And we saw that reason last night.

  • Elijah Stevenson

    Ben looked terrible as well it wasn’t just Sanders

  • JAMESH

    “The Playoffs” is no place for a team like this. Part of me doesn’t want my beloved Steelers to endure the embarrassment of the spotlight which the playoffs would bring.

  • SG

    They panicked when they kept Sanders. They lost Wallace, hadn’t drafted Wheaton yet and had no idea if Plax would still have game (which, he didn’t). All they knew was that they had Brown and Cotch. I can understand why they did it, even if I didn’t totally agree.

    As for the playoffs, if they had won last night, I would have believed. Now, they need to rely on too much outside help. AFC is still awful, but once you start needing two or three teams to lose two or more games along with trying to scrape together enough wins, it’s too much.

  • steeltown

    We needed Ike, especially early on this year when Cortez was injured. Without Ike at that point it would have been WillieG and C.Brown starting for us at CB and that would’ve been really bad

    I agree about Sanders

  • Avoid Lloyd

    Total team effort in the loss. Offense was nonexistent in the 1st half. 5 no huddle plays in the entire half, after putting up 30+ the past few games? Up until those final few drives, many of Ben’s throws were off target. As has been the case all season, Sanders can’t make any big plays; what a huge disappointment in a contract year.

    Specials teams was a complete train wreck in every facet. Suisham, for how consistent he’s been the past 2 seasons, has really hurt this team twice this year now (Tucker may have been player of the game; he is automatic from anywhere). Field position has been killing this team all season. Ben and the O are consistently facing 80+ yard drives with no return game whatsoever. Tomlin may have been the best Special Teamer last night.

    Lastly, the defense should also shared a lot of the blame. The Ravens punted ONCE the entire game. Other than that punt and their last possession as time expired in 1st half, they scored on EVERY possession they had in the game. The defense could not make a stop on 3rd down ALL night.

  • r4kolb

    If Sanders had gone to the Patriots Brady would have stopped throwing to him by now. There were a lot of us in this site begging for the Steelers to take the #3 pick and let him go. I do somewhat see the logic due to the lack of depth however, maybe we could have found someone on the waiver wire to fill the spot if needed.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Agreed about Sanders. I would have let him go. There would have been an immediate return of a 3rd round pick. There are always some vets around to pickup for the minimum that would probably performed as well as Sanders. Meanwhile, perhaps the Steelers could have made a similar trade to the one the Vikings made to end with 3 very early picks in the draft.

    The Steelers would not have got Jones at #16, but they could have picked someone else later and then picked a WR like that guy Houston picked or something like that. Taller WR with potential to be a true #1 WR. Imagine a future where Antonio Brown is a #2 WR. Holy cow! How great would that be.

    At least we should continue to see young guys on the field and see how they work out. This may help them clear up the picture as far as what’s required for the future.

  • GunsDontKillWoodleyKills

    Ugh….imagine having to play the Patriots again

  • Elijah Stevenson

    I honestly wouldn’t mind that much losing to Baltimore if we would’ve just beat the team’s earlier this season we would still hold the wildcard or be a division leader. We shouldn’t be losing to teams such as OAK TEN and MIN as you can see those earlier losses are affecting us late in the season.

  • dkoy85

    I think more than anything it’s that Ben and Sanders just dont have the chemistry. Sanders would have had a monster game and been the hero if Ben could hit him and Sanders could catch. I was telling my wife before the game this is Sanders chance to shine and we’ll see what hes got- unfortunately I came away disappointed.

  • rizzo29

    I agree I thought the O-line played their asses off last night despite all the injuries,If the team played this way against those team you mention and won they would still be in the driver,s seat

  • Douglas Andrews

    Nightmare not even worth watching! Couldn’t stomach two beatdowns in on season

  • Douglas Andrews

    I would have taken the 3rd and let Sanders walk but i believe Ben lobbied for Sanders probably because he didn’t want the growing pains like Brady endured early on in the season. But how’s that working out for Brady now? he’s got a good group of competent WR’s while we are left with an outstanding #1 and #3 (Cotchery) and at #2 Sanders who couldn’t catch a cold right now. As to the 2 point conversion that would seem like good strategy attack the worst corner on the play and it was a good throw but like he’s done so many times another drop by Sanders. These drops aren’t like tough catches the balls are hitting him right in the hands. I would scrap the Ben trying to hit Sanders deep every game play to. It’s just not gonna happen. Sanders runs good routes but no hands.

  • HopalongCassidy

    “Still not dead” ? I have no illusions left at this point. The pipe-dream died in Baltimore. This is nothing more than a mediocre football team that needs to replace a bunch of high-paid aging veterans and rebuild. That is the reality of the situation, period.

  • rizzo29

    That,s what has become of the nfl when a 5-7 team still has a shot at the playoffs mediocrity at its best,the league wanted parity they got it.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    Last night was a perfect example of having Ferrari in a shack. We have Ben… and he was phenomenal yesterday- but we lost. Because not of Ben, but because of the defense, the drops, the kick coverage. So, we’ll have $20m invested in several years for Ben (and Woodley and co.)… and we’ll never be able to upgrade the rest of the team. We are in Cap hell and will never be able to sign free agents. We can only do so much with our draft. Woodley needs to go! I am tired of him being hurt. Ben is a quintessential Steeler but they need sooo much more than Ben, and I don’t know how they financially can do it.

  • WIINGY

    The play was fine. Where was moye? Wheaton?

    It really is disturbing that the coaches benched AB for a half and he’s on pace to break Steeler records. And they can’t bench Manny?

  • WIINGY

    You are correct. We waited to long to let Ben take over the offense. Haley waited way to long to adjust.

  • alex

    ouch, we all feel that pain, sounds like you missed the ‘get if all out’ article after the London loss…

    anyway, in answer to the how do we do it question, the response is thru the draft…and we cant whiff anymore like in 2008, ala Sweed, Bruce Davis, and Tony Hills…second, next year will be the last for Troy and Ikes $10M each contracts, Kiesel and Clark are gone, $5M each, and now we see a light at the end of the tunnel and some bloated backended contracts…

    youth is coming, we see it at the WR,OL, RB, DL positions, it just takes time to learn, play and perform…

  • CrazyTerry

    So what would have happened? Steelers still go 0-4!!! But seriously, I also thought they should have signed K Lewis and his cap number was very reasonable. Or theey could have gotten a tracy porter as a stopgap.

  • CrazyTerry

    YEp, It doesnt matter if Sanders was matchedup against the worst CB(who actually had tighter coverage on him than your usual Ike Taylor coverage). Sanders was wide open on a couple of other drops earlier inthe game. Like I said, the best use for him is to be a mini Santonio Holmes where he goes to an open spot when plays break down and have Ben give him an easy catch and let his legs do the magic.

  • Rednecksrule

    Playoffs? This team doesn’t belong in the playoffs. Look at the salary cap list… you have a great deal of under performing million dollar plus salaries.

  • Callentown

    Oh well, at least we got to be in the playoff run for one week. I did not consider that would ever be an option.

    Clearly, we need a number 1 cornerback in the draft this year, to go along with the 5-6 additional O-lineman we’ll need to get thru all of the injuries this team has at that position.

    Dave, anyone, are there stats that follow team injuries?? We have to be leading in something.

  • steeltown

    The more I think about the Lewis thing the more it confuses me. I heard the FO didn’t even make him an offer. He makes somewhere around $5MIL a season now, we could’ve afforded that. Then we could extend C.Allen after this season and have our starting CBs for the next 5yrs with WillieG in the mix as well. Basically Lewis and Allens cap hits combined would almost total Ike Taylors

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