Steelers reach a new level of humiliation in Week 9 NFL power rankings

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on the sidelines against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on the sidelines against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

After getting embarrassed by the Philadelphia Eagles, the 2-6 Pittsburgh Steelers descended near the bottom of Week 9 NFL power rankings.

If you thought things couldn’t get much worse than they were in the first seven games, think again. As their playoff hopes hung by a thread after a Week 7 primetime loss to the Dolphins, the Pittsburgh Steelers desperately needed to show signs of life against the Philadelphia Eagles this past Sunday. Instead, it was one of the most humiliating and embarrassing performances I have ever seen from this team.

The Steelers were absolutely pummeled on both sides of the football. After a first-quarter touchdown, it was a chore for the offense to cross midfield. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s defense was incredibly porous — allowing a whopping 10.3 yards per pass attempt, per ESPN stats, as the Eagles cruised to a 35-13 victory.

The game didn’t even feel as close as the score indicated as Philly eventually took their foot off the gas pedal and inserted their backups into the game late in the contest. After already seeing themselves plummet in the NFL power rankings throughout the year, the Steelers reached a new low this week.

In’s Week 9 power rankings, the Steelers dropped from 24th down to 27th. This ties to the lowest point they have seen in years. Currently, the only teams lower are the Colts, Panthers, Jaguars, Lions, and Texans.  Here’s what’s Dan Hanzus had to say:

"The Steelers weren’t ready for that smoke. A young Pittsburgh team went to Philadelphia and found itself overmatched in a 35-13 loss that could have been a lot worse if the Eagles kept their foot on the accelerator in the second half. Minkah Fitzpatrick and the secondary were humbled, as Eagles star A.J. Brown collected three long touchdown receptions in the first half alone. With Pittsburgh’s playoff chances fading by the week, it will be interesting to see if the team shifts into a more conservative approach in regard to T.J. Watt. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year has been on injured reserve since Week 1 with a torn pectoral muscle."

Steelers aren’t going to compete in 2022

Like it or not, at some point we have to face reality: the Pittsburgh Steelers simply are not going to be a competitive football team in 2022. While going undefeated for the remainder of the season would assure them a playoff spot, this is highly unattainable — especially with the league’s worst-ranked offense.

Let’s explore another scenario that is also very unlikely. Even if Mike Tomlin’s team goes 7-2 after the bye week, that would bring them to a record of just 9-8 on the season. The Chargers missed the playoffs last year with this same record, and sitting just above .500 would not guarantee Pittsburgh a playoff spot.

Essentially, three losses in their last 9 games would almost certainly do them in, as I don’t see a scenario where an 8-9 club is getting into the postseason — even with an additional seventh seed added in recent years.

Even losing just three games from here on out would require Pittsburgh to look like a much-improved team and they would need a more competent offense to do so. By some miracle, if they happen to get into the playoffs, they would likely be matchup up against the Kansas City Chiefs or Buffalo Bills in the first round (whichever team doesn’t end up as the number one seed with a first-round bye). After getting embarrassed by the Chiefs last year, there’s no reason to think the results would be any different.

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Simply put, this is just a really bad Steelers football team at the moment, and things aren’t going to get much better until major personnel changes are made during the 2023 offseason. The Super Bowl window has slammed shut on Pittsburgh, and they need to start developing a three-year plan to get this team back on top.