Let’s start this column off by saying this: I’m glad the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to pull off the win and clinch the AFC North on Sunday.
It always feels good beating a divisional rival, especially the Baltimore Ravens.
However, much like the past few weeks, I’ve found myself thinking the same thing once the game ended.
Week 12’s last second field goal to beat the Green Bay Packers: “They can’t do this against the Patriots.”
Week 13’s last second game-winning field goal against the Cincinnati Bengals: “They can’t do this against the Patriots.”
Sunday’s late fourth quarter win against the Ravens, say it with me everyone: “They can’t do this against the Patriots.”
This upcoming game against the AFC powerhouse is perhaps the most important one of the season. Whichever team wins is almost guaranteed the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage going into the playoffs.
But if the Steelers only show up to play in the fourth quarter once again, they can kiss all of that goodbye. I’m not saying they have zero chance of winning; I actually think they can pull it off, especially after the Pats’ 27-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins last night.
What I’m trying to say is that they can’t expect to beat New England the way they’ve beaten the Packers, Bengals and Ravens.
Every aspect of their game needs to stay consistent throughout. The less mistakes for the Patriots to capitalize on, the better.
The offense can’t sputter along for one or two quarters before finally waking up late in the fourth. They need to throw everything they have at the Pats the entire game.
The defense can’t self-implode like they came very close to doing on Sunday. This means no more stupid penalties, and for the love of god, actually tackle somebody. Don’t let Tom Brady torch your secondary, put pressure on him and make him as uncomfortable as possible.
This is the most frustrating thing about the Steelers, they can be so much better. Scratch that, they should be. The first quarter against the Ravens showed that, but they can’t continue to play well for only parts of games.
They need to be a complete team next weekend, point blank. There are a few simple reasons why:
What if Ben Roethlisberger can’t orchestrate another game-winning drive? What if Antonio Brown can’t make those big time catches? What if the Steelers’ defense can’t hold the Patriots?
What if Chris Boswell can’t save his team with another late field goal?
Come Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field, the Steelers better shape up and make sure these what ifs don’t become a reality. New England has beaten them the last four games, let’s hope they don’t make it five.