The wheels are falling off the wagon for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
First, they adopted a loss to the then two-win Arizona Cardinals — wherein beginning quarterback Kenny Pickett harm his ankle — with a defeat to the then three-win New England Patriots on “Thursday Evening Soccer” to fall out of a playoff spot.
Then, on Saturday Morning, ESPN’s Brooke Pryor posted on “X” that Pittsburgh’s defensive star T.J. Watt is reportedly in concussion protocol.
The announcement comes after Watt took a blow to the pinnacle early within the sport with the Patriots and received examined on the sideline earlier than returning to the sport.
Regardless of the Steelers hanging round within the playoff dialog, there’s little cause at this level for Pittsburgh followers to anticipate the crew to earn its method again into competition.
Earlier than firing offensive coordinator Matt Canada on Nov. 21 following a 13-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns, they’d been out-gained by each opponent in 2023 regardless of a document of 6-4.
Whereas Pittsburgh received its first sport post-firing-Canada and amassed 400 yards for the first time since earlier than his arrival, they nonetheless have not been in a position to rating constantly. The saving grace of the crew was its elite protection, headlined by Watt, the 2021 AP Defensive Participant of the Yr.
With the offense persevering with to sputter even earlier than having to start out Mitch Trubisky at quarterback, Pittsburgh’s protection has much more stress on it to carry out if they will have an opportunity to win. As an alternative, they surrendered 21 factors to Bailey Zappe and the Patriots, the lowest-scoring offense within the NFL at 13 factors per sport.
Much more troubling than the outcomes for Pittsburgh this season is likely to be the mentality of a few of their gamers.
Security Minkah Fitzpatrick advised Pryor after the loss to the Patriots that he is unsure everybody on the crew has the mentality for achievement within the NFL.
“In an effort to see the fruit, you have gotta toil for it,” he said. “I feel too many individuals do not need to toil for it. They simply need to stroll out right here and assume that they will make performs and assume that they will carry out at a excessive degree.”
After its disastrous “Thursday Evening Soccer,” efficiency, Pittsburgh is only a half-game behind the Houston Texans for a playoff spot.
However Houston, led by rookie sensation C.J. Stroud, is trying tougher for Pittsburgh to catch as much as because the season dwindles. The Steelers’ ultimate stretch does them no favors both, with powerful matchups in opposition to the Colts, Bengals, Seahawks and Ravens.
Mercifully for soccer followers in all places, Week 18 needs to be the final we see of those Steelers.