The Steelers never trailed against the Carolina Panthers in Week 15, but Pittsburgh’s victory this Sunday was met with a bag of mixed feelings.
The Pittsburgh Steelers showed that they weren’t going to go down this season without a fight. After a disheartening home loss against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14, Mike Tomlin’s team didn’t come out flat on the road in Charlotte.
Against the Carolina Panthers in Week 15, the Steelers proved to be efficient on offense and imposing on defense. Mitch Trubisky clearly redeemed himself after a dismal three-interception performance last week that proved to be the dagger in their 2022 season.
While Pittsburgh’s rushing attack only managed 3.5 yards per carry in this contest, they moved the chains well enough to rush 45 times for 156 yards — punching in a pair of scores. Through the air, Trubisky connected with Diontae Johnson often. It was the most efficient game of the season for the veteran receiver, as Johnson caught all 10 of his targets for 98 yards.
Defensively, T.J. Watt and company not only harassed QB Sam Darnold all afternoon, but they also shut down Carolina’s rushing attack — allowing a mere 21 yards on 16 carries (1.3 yards per attempt), per ESPN stats.
The all-around strong performance ultimately resulted in a 24-16 victory for Pittsburgh, but not all Steelers fans are thrilled with the results in week 15.
Steelers fans are torn on how to root
This has been an issue since the Pittsburgh Steelers entered the bye week with a record of just 2-6. Despite their success in the past, Tomlin’s team just hasn’t been very good in 2022, and they have been embarrassed by good opponents this year.
Following their loss to the Ravens last week, Pittsburgh was given just a 0.2 percent chance to make the playoffs this season. This minuscule number has forced many fans to root for losses down the stretch.
While it’s hard to actively root against your favorite team, most are aware that real change is not going to occur if this team tries to keep its head above water. In reality, fans know that the Steelers could use an elite draft pick, as this team is lacking top-end talent across the roster (outside of a few premier players).
After advancing to 6-8 on the season, the Steelers fall from the 12th pick in the draft to the 14th spot, per Tankathon.com. Though this change seems minor, there, were seven teams tied with a 5-8 record prior to Week 15, and getting a top-5 pick clearly wasn’t out of the question up until this point.
As has been the norm over the past several years, Mike Tomlin will do his best to fight and claw his way back to a near .500 record. But what does that do for this team in the long run? If the Steelers win out, their microscopic odds of making the playoffs increase ever so slightly, but they still can’t control their own destiny.
This fan base is truly split on how to root right now. Even with their most recent win, the Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t going anywhere this season. At the very least, we got to see them earn a win down the stretch ahead of the new year.