No other team in NFL history has experienced a five-day stretch like the one the Steelers just had. By virtue of Thursday night's 21-18 loss to the Patriots, Pittsburgh became the first team in NFL history with a winning record to lose consecutive games to teams that were at least eight games under .500, according to the Prime broadcast.
The Steelers were coming off of a 24-10 loss to a Cardinals team that came to Pittsburgh with a 2-10 record. Thursday's loss came to another 2-10 team in the Patriots, who handed the Steelers their third loss in their past four games.
Offense continues to be a major reason for Pittsburgh's struggles. The Steelers' only touchdown in the second half on Thursday night came on a short field following Miles Killebrew's blocked punt. Pittsburgh came up empty on its previous drive despite getting a short field on Mykal Walker's interception of Bailey Zappe.
The Steelers' offense was no better with Mitch Trubisky playing in relief of injured starter Kenny Pickett. While Pickett has been a scapegoat of sorts (along with fired OC Matt Canada), Pittsburgh's offense looked considerably worse on Thursday night. Trubisky looked hesitant in the pocket, made erratic throws and made the wrong read numerous times. He received little help from a running game that had averaged well over 150 yards per game over the last five weeks.
Pittsburgh came into the night as the fifth-ranked team in the AFC standings. It is now in eighth place and on the outside of the playoff bubble with four weeks remaining in the regular season.
Things won't get any easier for the Steelers. They face the 6-5 Colts in Indianapolis on Dec. 16 before hosting the 6-6 Bengals on Dec. 23. Pittsburgh will finish the regular season with road games in Seattle (6-6) and Baltimore (9-3). The Steelers will have to win at least half of their remaining four games to have a shot at the postseason, and that may not even be enough.