The Steelers are now the best we’ve seen them look all year

Steelers, Titans
Steelers, Titans / Michael Owens/GettyImages

Last Thursday, the Steelers beat the Tennessee Titans in a low-scoring affair. The 20-16 result bumped Pittsburgh up to 5-3 on the year, which is terrific—or is it?

Especially for the more “veteran” Steelers fans out there, me painting a 5-3 tally in some overwhelmingly positive light may come off as a bit comedic at best and downright offensive at worst, and I can understand why. Am I seriously expecting fans of the six-time Super Bowl champ Pittsburgh Steelers to click their heels over being 5-3 halfway through the season? What is wrong with me?

Well, the short answer is nothing, as the Steelers of the present are not only nowhere near what their history depicts them as being, but are also very lucky to have such a record today when considering season-long factors such as their consistent offensive struggles. Speaking of which, that’s exactly what I wish to touch on first as we get this party started.

Pittsburgh’s weak offense is slowly—but surely—turning things around

As I said, Pittsburgh downed the Titans (who are now 3-5, by the way) in what was yet another low-scoring affair, as a total of five field goals had been seen sailing through the uprights by the time the night was over. By just looking at the score that came from that kind of display, the implication would be that the aforementioned offensive struggles are still thriving, right? Perhaps to some degree, but that doesn’t mean that it saw no visible steps in the right direction.

Entering the game, the Steelers had just one day on their calendar that witnessed them score with their rushing attack (Oct. 22 at LAR). However, they added to that count with a 166-yard performance against Tennessee that included Jaylen Warren averaging eight yards per carry on 11 touches and a Najee Harris touchdown.

Beyond all of that, quarterback Kenny Pickett returned from a Week 8 injury to throw his first touchdown pass since early October to Diontae Johnson, who then hadn’t caught one since Pittsburgh’s Wild Card loss from January of 2022.

During the collective climb, Pittsburgh’s defense once again came up big

As for the Steelers defensive showing, legendary DT Cam Heyward came back from his extensive absence as though he had never left, recording six total tackles (one of which was a TFL). Meanwhile, star linebackers Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt popped off as usual, combining for seven QB hits and three sacks. And, last but definitely not least, we had the game-sealing interception made by another electric LB, Kwon Alexander.

To be able to celebrate this many strides being made on both sides of the ball right after a challenging home loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars means a lot in regards to the strength of Pittsburgh’s drive for a successful season going forward. In fact, pairing said drive with the next couple of teams on the schedule tells me that the Steelers could very well be on the biggest tear we’ve seen from them so far this fall.

This upcoming Sunday, they’ll host another 3-5 team, Green Bay, for what will be their third home game in a row. After that, it’s back on the road to face the Cleveland Browns, whom Pittsburgh has already beaten once this year.

If the Steelers walk away from those very-winnable matchups victorious, they will be repping a 7-3 record—not too shabby.

5 Steelers we already know will (probably) be gone in 2024. dark. Next. 5 Steelers we already know will (probably) be gone in 2024

Now I know that not a single part of that predominantly hypothetical stretch appears to mean a ton on its own, but when the total product showcases sizable improvements and includes a season-best three-game win streak, it’s less about the Steelers snagging forgettable/expected wins and more about symbolizing their bright future. Especially when keeping in mind how bleak things have looked in some previous weeks, that goes quite a long way. The next order of business is simply seeing how much longer it can go beyond Cleveland.