As the Pittsburgh Steelers head off on their well-deserved bye week, it has been quite the odyssey for this year's team.
In reflection, a lesser group that had to endure the losses they have suffered, would have quit a long time ago, but not this team. This ensemble of players are not by any means perfect, one may make the argument that it lacks real talent. But this group carries an attribute of resilience that can take them far.
Coming into their contest against the Chargers, the Steelers started a third string quarterback in Devlin Hodges. Their backup running back Jaylen Samuels was out with an injury, as well as their starting cornerback Steven Nelson. During the course of the game, the Steelers suffered more casualties, with the loss of Stephon Tuitt and Joe Haden late in the game. In the end, they persevered and won.
Here are some realities fans must come to terms from this point and for the remainder of the season. Firstly, the Steelers offense is not going to be the dominant unit it once was. With this in mind, the type of collective effort fans saw with James Conner and Benny Snell Jr., can open doors to expanding their struggling ground attack, and the offense as a whole.
Secondly, the issues in the secondary are likely to remain. Even with the addition of Minkah Fitzpatrick, the fundamental problems that have plagued this unit, will make leads less comfortable; especially in crunch time where they have the tendency of breaking down.
Lastly, the road to earning a playoff spot will get harder from this point onwards. One may assume that the Steelers will have an easy time against a Miami Dolphins team that will likely not win a game this season. As we have seen from the past, games such as this could have unexpected surprises. The remaining schedule will feature teams with potent offenses such as the Indianpolis Colts and the Los Angeles Rams. Yet it will be their divisional matches against the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals which could determine their playoff fate.
Considering everything this team has to overcome, their 2-4 record has a different type of value. The next part of the season will undoubtedly present more hurdles, which they will need to overcome. If this team is true to form, they could make the type run that could inevitably lead them to their destination.