The Pittsburgh Steelers fell just short of the NFL playoffs this year, but here’s why an entry ticket into the tournament wouldn’t have made a difference.
If you make the tournament, anything can happen. That’s the mentality that most fans seem to have, and they are not completely wrong. If a team can get red hot for a four-game stretch, they will have a shot to become Super Bowl champions.
The Pittsburgh Steelers fell just short of a playoff berth this year, and after watching the first two rounds of the post-season, many fans are convinced that Mike Tomlin’s team would have made some noise. Many even believe that this team would have made it to the AFC Championship game.
However, it’s easy to see that Pittsburgh isn’t quite ready for deep post-season run. Here are the four biggest reasons why the Steelers most likely would have gotten embarrassed in the NFL playoffs this year.
4. Steelers offense was improved, but not good enough
There are some wild narratives fans were spinning in the second half of the season, but believing that the Steelers were playing great down the stretch takes the cake. It’s true that Pittsburgh was winning football games and that their offense had taken a step forward. However, they got more credit than they deserved over the final nine games.
During this stretch, Pittsburgh scored just over 20 points per game. Even if we prorate this number over the course of an entire season, this still would have ranked as the 19th-best offense in the league, via ESPN stats. Though the running game clearly improved in terms of both volume and efficiency, it did not equate to high-scoring outputs.
This is admittedly a big improvement from the 15 points per game they had early in the season, but not enough to move the needle against playoff contenders. It’s worth noting that Pittsburgh also had a cupcake schedule down the stretch that helped attribute to this improvement.