2019: Without Big Ben, Steelers fail to make playoffs even though they had a Duck and a prayer
A season-opening rout at the hands of the defending Super Bowl Champion Patriots foreshadowed a tough start to the season (another three-game losing streak), but the Steelers rallied behind the play of their backup quarterbacks and found themselves in position to make the playoffs just a few Sunday's before Christmas.
Pittsburgh, mostly playing without Ben Roethlisberger due to the season-ending injury he suffered in Week 2, rallied to win eight of its next 10 after the 0-3 start and surged into the playoff race. Mason Rudolph, and later Duck Hodges, replaced Big Ben at quarterback, and the Steelers had an 8-5 record after a 23-17 win at Arizona on Dec. 8.
The next week, visiting Buffalo used 10 fourth-quarter points and a late Hodges interception to take a 17-10 win and improve to 10-4 overall, while dropping the Steelers to 8-6. It was the first of three consecutive games that the struggling Steelers' offense scored just 10 points, as losses at the 6-8 Jets (16-10) and 13-2 Ravens (28-10) followed.
Pittsburgh's second three-game losing skid of the season gave the Steelers an 8-8 overall record, finishing one win back of the Tennessee Titans (9-7) for the sixth and final playoff spot.