In Wake Of Loss, Steelers’ Final Two Games Become Hugely Important

Following weeks and weeks of escalating stakes and tensions, it almost seems that a big game on Christmas Day is suddenly being overlooked as rather insignificant.

But following big wins over the Bengals and then the Ravens, the latter of which clinched the AFC North, all of which led to the pivotal showdown against the Patriots, a match against the Texans just doesn’t feel all that exciting at the moment.

Many fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers, of course, were simply hoping that the final two games of the regular season wouldn’t even mean anything, and that could have been in the cards, had things worked out differently yesterday, with a win and a Jaguars loss, Pittsburgh would have locked up the number one seed regardless of what happened in the final two weeks.

Unfortunately, neither of those things happened, which actually makes the final two games radically more important. In fact, it’s very possible that the Steelers may have to win both of their final two games just to retain possession of the number two seed, and a bye week.

The built-in narrative hoped for was the ‘Watt Christmas’ angle, with elder brother and three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt hosting his younger brother, rookie outside linebacker T.J. Watt. Unfortunately, J.J. has been sidelined for the season.

But T.J. has been having himself a very solid rookie season, finding himself a day-one starter. While he had a quiet game on paper last night, limited to just two tackles, he was also coming off his best game of the season as a pass-rusher, registering a game-ending strip sack and a couple of other quarterback hits to go along with it.

One local narrative of interest would have been the first chance to see Tom Savage in the pros. Savage finished off his career with Pittsburgh in college, but on a personal note of interest, he actually began his college career at Rutgers, my own alma mater.

Even that, too, has been taken away, however, after he suffered a startling concussion last week. The young quarterback was visibly shaken, his hand twitching, following a hit, and it is believed that he will not play again this season.

One bright spot to look forward to should be the return of Joe Haden, who has missed the past five and a half games with a fractured fibula. He was game-time decision and nearly played yesterday, so one would figure that he will play the next time around.

Either way, now is no time to take the foot off the pedal, either for the Steelers or for their fans. We should not lose focus just because of the gut-punch loss to the Patriots and simply tune out until the playoffs roll around. There is still much left to play for, and stakes to wage, both in terms of what can be gained, and what can be lost. The next leg in the journey is out in Texas. And then, the hope is that it’s all home games before a trip to Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII…where they may play the Vikings.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Chris92021

    Win both and you get the playoff bye, which will only help McDonald, Haden, and now Brown.

    Win both and the Patriots drop a game, you get home field advantage.

    I am not even going to consider losing because that just is not an option at that point.

    BTW I believe the 49ers will win out so the Steelers will not have to worry about the Jaguars much longer being a threat to take a playoff bye.

  • newguy68

    Win out, get a bye and start the real season

  • John Phillips

    Gut punch? It’s more like gut feeling that the game is rigged, just like wrestling and politics.

  • DirtDawg1964

    The Texans game will be a test for this team. Not because the Texans are any kind of real threat. More so because the Steelers have just come off of three intense games.

    They won two rather improbably and lost one rather improbably. That can wear on you mentally, and were more than aware of the physical toll.

    They need to quickly regroup and focus on winning out. If they d, that should tell us something about this team.

  • NCSteel

    Yea, we need to keep winning so we can have that awesome chance to be robbed in Foxboro.

  • Robert Kilbourne

    We all Have to Root on Buffalo to play the game of the year for them.

  • NCSteel

    Just for laughs, go read the Boston Globe, stories like “when will the Patriots opponents ever learn and Brady saying bring on the boos (like he actually did something better than the refs to win the game).
    Lovely, don’t want to read anymore about how the loss was the right call. It was a bullshit call thats all.

  • Ross McCorkle

    In order to have a successful season you have to a) be a good team and b) have luck/calls go your way. Sometimes the best team doesn’t win. It happens.

  • Ross McCorkle

    Patriots fans and patriots media are intolerable. So full of themselves. They believe their sh** don’t stank

  • The Tony

    What? Wrestling isn’t real? Next you’re gonna say Santa doesn’t exist either

  • ThePointe

    It will be a real test for a team who may suffer from a migraine after losing to the Pats at home. Can this team recover from a devastating loss in a game that was so hyped by the media, fans and even their own head coach? I think they can, but it’ll be fun to watch.

  • rystorm06

    If we can’t beat the Texans and Browns, we don’t deserve a bye

  • rystorm06

    It may happen. Buffalo is fighting for their playoff lives and are probably still pissed off about the gronk cheap shot

  • Jason Vancil

    It’s still real to me!!!!!

  • Steel City Slim

    I’m holding out hope that the Bills will go into Foxboro and beat the Patriots this week and the Steelers win out and get that #1 seed. Yeah I know it’s almost delusional but there’s still a chance.

  • Danielsteelstrong81

    Yes they are one of the players said they haven’t forgotten about gronk dirty hit

  • LucasY59

    make sure to win the games, but also coming out of them healthy is very important (…glad the cinci/balt games are already behind them)

  • pittfan

    Not delusional at all. Bills want revenge for Gronk Hogan tactics.

  • 2winz

    what would you say the odds are the bills sctually upset the pats this late in the season?

  • Joe Craig

    Actually think this is the best thing that could have happened! You can bet the Patriots do not feel they kicked our butts! They left running with their tails tucked. They took a beating and got lucky! They are also trying to figure out what happened! How did the Steelers get down there so fast. We ran all over them. They are running scared and we know we can beat them! Our young guy’s got a shot of confidence yesterday! They now know without a little luck, and the ref’s, they would have won, without Shazier and mostly without Brown! We meet again, that confidence will be invaluable! Now just keep it going and don’t let down against Houston and the Clowns!

  • pittfan

    Slim. But not impossible

  • will

    The Browns do not exist.

  • EdJHJr

    black crows will overtake a spot if they win. In any case its most likely we will play one of the teams we already played. Everybody should want the Bills to win for at least 5 reasons

  • NinjaMountie

    Everyone will be happy next week. The Steelers will win and the Patriots will lose. To put a bow on our Christmas gift, the Jags will lose as well.
    Merry Christmas Steeler Nation.

  • NinjaMountie

    I’d give you a like if I thought you were joking. I have a feeling you aren’t, though.

  • Trey

    I just want to know when the cheating will ever stop for that franchise. In my opinion, the problem is Vegas and Vegas having the refs in there back pockets. We shouldn’t allow Vegas to be allowed to bet on sporting games because it literally messes up the game for people like you and me. The whole world knows we were robbed last night but nothing will change because we keep allowing Vegas to determine the outcome of games. Vegas had the Pats winning by 3 and what do you know they won by 3. It took them so long to decide what the play was because Vegas was on the line telling them to call it an incomplete pass. Games will have a different outcome once we get these trash ass refs and Vegas out of the game we use to love called football.

  • NinjaMountie

    I love reading how the NFL is fixed and that the refs are in the pockets of Vegas. It just makes me laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh.
    I know most of you are just venting!

  • NinjaMountie

    Do you know what the most common margin of victory in the NFL is? Yup…3 points. So, it isn’t about Vegas making it happen, it’s about them doing the research and saying these teams are similarly matched so what’s the most likely outcome. Well….it’s historically a 3 point victory.

  • Cary Matthews

    Next two are truly must wins in order to get that bye week Jacksonville plays 49ers and Titans and don’t see them losing either of those games GO STEELERS YA ALL CAN DO IT

  • Richard Edlin

    Lower than the chance that someone takes out Gronk.