There are occasions where a loss can be more beneficial than a bad win.
Coming into this contest against the Baltimore Ravens, there were many obstacles working against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here is the problem, the Ravens had greater obstacles working against them. Though their predicament was self-induced, it does not change the fact they were in a greater state of disadvantage.
With all this noted, one has to imagine the outcome of this game, if the Ravens were in full strength offensively and defensively. For the Steelers, who had many of their key players in this game, their overall performance presented many reasons to be concerned.
On offense, the theme was all about drops. For the most part, the Steelers receivers have been highly productive. In this particular game, almost every receiver dropped passes which were very catchable. Oddly enough, the most reliable receiver in this game, was a receiver who has seen his targets diminish exponentially this season; that player being James Washington. His catch late in the 4th quarter was tremendous, considering the importance of the moment, and the level of difficulty.
The Steelers ground attack featuring Benny Snell Jr. started off slow, but gradually built up as the game went on. Yet when you think of this aspect of their offense, they have yet to produce consistently; as a consequence, they compensate by using quick throws on shorter routes. Simply, the absence of a strong ground offense has made this offense predictable and vulnerable to turnovers.
On defense, despite a strong showing, there are still concerns in stopping the run. Even with this, their biggest obstacle will be moving forward without star pass rusher Bud Dupree, who suffered a torn ACL and is out for the season. Even with the strong play of rookie Alex Highsmith, Dupree's absence will be felt throughout the entire unit, notably how he helps elevate his sack-partner-in-crime, TJ Watt.
The Steelers are in uncharted territory. No doubt they are having a historic regular season; the question is whether this will translate to success in the playoffs. As I view it, this is definitely a playoff team, but is far from being a Superbowl contender.