The Pittsburgh Steelers' fate on this day could not have been worse.
A miserable day at Acrisure Stadium saw them lose to the lowly Arizona Cardinals by a score of 24-10 in a game that was marred by injuries, two weather delays, and subpar play on both sides of the ball. The Steelers lose and drop to 7-5, but they might have lost much more in the process.
As has been the usual theme for the Steelers this season, the defense did their best to keep their team in a game, but they eventually got exposed by Kyler Murray and tight end Kyle McBride. Despite a rough start, Cardinals running back James Conner came on strong and demoralized the Steelers defensive front with his physical and craft running style.
The offensive unit's shortcomings were the game's tragic narrative.
The game's pivotal moment occurred in the middle of the second quarter. After a strong 12-play drive that produced no points and caused quarterback Kenny Pickett to re-aggravate his ankle injury, the Steelers offense faltered. The Cardinals answered with a 99-yard, 15-play drive that was highlighted by a McBride touchdown reception. Late in the fourth quarter, the Steelers offensive would eventually score, but by then, the game was already well out of reach. Positives could include the fact that experienced quarterback Mitch Trubisky demonstrated his ability to move the ball downfield effectively, which could be useful if Pickett is down for an extended period of time.
As the club changes their focus to Thursday night's contest against the New England Patriots, this performance raised a lot of questions about what this team might look like moving forward. There are no guarantees, but given how Mike Tomlin's teams have performed against sub-.500 teams in the past, anything can happen.