For the past three and a half weeks, the Steelers have looked like a team that forgot the way they played football, but something seemed to change between the halves on Sunday, because the team that knocked out in the second half against Colts looked like the Steelers who started the season 11-0.
Judging by the way the Steelers ‘attack had played over the past few weeks, the idea of Pittsburgh overcoming the deficit 24-7 in the third quarter seemed improbable, but that is exactly what happened in a wild game that ended with the Steelers’ victory over North Asia. The title in the 28-24 victory.
Whatever Ben Rothlesberger said in the first half, he must have succeeded, because after nearly a month of agony, the offense finally played good football in the second half.
One of the strikes on Big Ben over the past few weeks is that he hasn’t been able to throw an accurate deep ball. That was one of the many problems that seemed to have fixed themselves in the second half against the Colts and there is no better evidence than the 39-yard touchdown pass to Deontay Johnson where Rothlesberger threw a perfect ball that cut 47 yards into the air.
Rothlisberger then climbed himself another impressive deep landing in the second half. This time, the scoring pass went from 25 yards to JuJu Smith-Schuster and cut the ball about 35 yards in the air.
Smith Schuster’s throw came less than eight minutes before the end of the match, which ended up offering Pittsburgh winning points. It was also Rothlisberger’s third touch-pass in a performance as he completed 34 of 49 passes for 342 yards.
When the deep ball works for Roethlisberger, it is almost impossible to stop the attack. For the past few weeks, all the opponent’s defense had to do was focus on short crossing routes. If you manage to stop them, you can shut down the Steelers’ crime. However, this is not the case when Deep Ball is working. If the Steelers could ride that momentum into the qualifiers, they could become the Super Bowl competitor we all thought was five weeks ago.
Speaking of the qualifiers, the Steelers will have some interesting decisions ahead of Week 17, especially with the division already over. On the one hand, if Mike Tomlin decides to rest his beginners, you can’t really blame him and that’s because this team has a lot of players who can use a holiday week after a season in which the Steelers’ farewell has stopped due to COVID. On the one hand, with the offense finally coinciding, it might not be worth the risk of giving them the weekend and making them out on the wild cards tour look rusty.
Well, let’s get up to the ranks for each game starting at Week 16. If you’re looking for a deeper look at New Orleans’ mega-win over Vikings played on Christmas Day, Be sure to click here.
Tampa Bay 47-7 at Detroit (Saturday)
San Francisco 20-12 over Arizona (Saturday)
Miami 26-25 over Las Vegas (Saturday)
Kansas City 17-14 over Atlanta
Chicago 41-17 over Jacksonville
Cincinnati 37-31 Houston
Pittsburgh 28-24 over Indianapolis
Colts-Steelers degrees by Brian Diardo (Love the scores? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Baltimore 27-13 over the New York Giants
Degrees of the Giants – Ravens by Tyler Sullivan (Love the degrees? Hate the degrees? Let him know on Twitter.)
New York Jets 23-16 over Cleveland
Browns-Jets degrees by Josh Edwards (Do you like grades? Hate grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
LA Chargers 19-16 over Denver
Dallas 37-17 over Philadelphia
Degrees of Eagles Cowboys by Patrick Walker (Do you like grades? Hate grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Seattle 9-20 above Los Angeles Rams
Rams-Seahawks grades by jeff Kerr (love grades? Hate grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Carolina 20-13 over Washington
Panthers-Washington degrees by Jordan Dajani (Do you like degrees? Hate degrees? Let him know on Twitter.)