How will Steelers respond to their disappointing 2020 season?
The Steelers had a rough finish to the 2020 season. Here’s how Pittsburgh could look in 2021.
As Week 12 of the 2020 NFL season approached, many fans were confused and astonished. When the standings were released to the public, the Pittsburgh Steelers were holding an 11-0 record.
During the previous offseason, questions around the league began to surface regarding the strength of Mike Tomlin’s Steelers. After experiencing a below-average eight-win season the year prior, the Steelers franchise needed to find answers fast.
While the stars in Steel City were getting old, teams across the league were developing their own. Since talents such as Lamar Jackson, Miles Garrett, Odell Beckham Jr. and others joined the AFC North, the grip on a guaranteed division title had slowly slipped away. When the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Louisiana State University’s Joe Burrow, the division became more competitive. Now the AFC was home for four former first-round picks, who are ready to compete. The rise in talent leaves no room for error on the gridiron.
When it was time to perform, it looked as though Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers were ready for the spotlight. The team’s midseason victory rallies were solid enough to convince the league of their true strength. One of those victories was against the developing Cleveland Browns. The victory was carried on the shoulders of the Steelers defense and their running back James Connor. Pittsburgh’s defense was able to hold the Baker Mayfield and Cleveland’s talented running backs to one touchdown.
On the offensive side of the ball, James Connor was able to record 101 yards rushing on the ground and a touchdown. It was clear that the Pittsburgh Steelers were still a franchise who believed in protecting the football while playing great defense. As the season progressed, that story became less believable.
After an 11-0 start to the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers finished with a 12-4 record. The team lost five out of its last six games as they stumbled into the NFL playoffs. It would be there where the Steelers would be exposed by none other than Jarvis Landry and the Cleveland Browns. The 48-37 defeat during the Wild Card Round was embarrassing to players, fans, and coaches. It was as if it was too late to fix the underlying issues that were hidden underneath the Steel Curtain’s initial success.
How will the Steelers look in 2021?
With the 2021 NFL season approaching, Pittsburgh hopes for a different end this time around. After exiting the 2020-2021 playoffs, the team has begun resuming form. The Steelers front office knows they must get back to the “ground and pound” style to regain some traction.
Understanding the assignment at hand, Pittsburgh was able to draft the former Alabama star running back Najee Harris. In addition to three other offensive selections, the Steelers hope to resort back to their “run first” offensive tendencies.
To keep their defensive strength, Keith Butler will remain as the defensive coordinator. Last season, Butler was able to help the Steelers produce the third-best defense in the league. With four additions in the NFL Draft including linebacker Buddy Johnson from Texas A&M, the Steelers are ready to continue to create chaos on defense.
With new pieces added to an almost complete puzzle, the Steelers should experience success this year. The return of Ben Roethlisberger, Chase Claypool, Dionte Johnson, and T.J Watt are all reasons to believe that this season should have a better result. They have a running back that can fit the needs of the offense to alleviate some of the pressure off Roethlisberger’s shoulders.
With a stout defense that protects the end zone, Pittsburgh hopes to chance this year’s end result. Though their record might not be any better, they could have better results in the end.