The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Hindsight game – where did you feel the Steelers are likely to be by midseason?
The Steelers have for the first time in six years reached the midpoint of the regular season calendar with a .750 winning percentage, racking up wins in each of their last three contests to hit their dead-center bye week with a 6-2 record.
Is that where you expected them to be? Did you expect them to be worse than that? better? And how much stock do you put into the ‘quality’ of their 6-2 record? This is all personal interpretation here.
The Steelers opened the season with the Browns on the road, followed by the Vikings at home, the Bears on the road, the Ravens on the road, the Jaguars at home, the Chiefs on the road, the Bengals at home, and finally, the Lions on the road.
That’s five road games, in Cleveland, Chicago, Baltimore, Kansas City, and Detroit, and three games at home hosting the Vikings, Jaguars, and Bengals.
I didn’t actually fill out any kind of preseason prediction of how I felt the Steelers would do in each game, but looking back, I think this is about where I expected they would be, or perhaps 5-3, and that would have gotten here via a slightly different path.
I didn’t think they would win in Kansas City again. I figured Sam Bradford would play and beat them at Heinz Field. I thought they could have lost in Detroit. And I thought they should have beaten the Bears and the Jaguars. So that still shakes out to a record of 5-3 or 6-2, not far from where they ended up.
How do I feel about their record versus where I thought they would be? I’m not really sure. I think I ultimately fall back to situational football. The Steelers need to turn the page offensively and convert more in the red zone and on third down. The defense needs to build off this most recent performance, situationally, while plugging some of the leaks they had last night.