Whether you want to chalk it up to good coaching, clutch plays in key moments, or just dumb luck, the Pittsburgh Steelers keep finding ways to win football games. But they aren't doing it in traditional fashion. Mike Tomlin's team is hitting new milestones when it comes to his wins... just not in a good way.
Pittsburgh's victory against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football marked the 8th time this season that the Steelers have been outgained in terms of total yardage in 2023. Remarkably, the Steelers sit on an impressive 5-3 record heading into the halfway point of the season.
So far, Pittsburgh's offense has been outgained by a whopping 790 yards just 8 games into the season. To make things more bizarre, the Steelers are the only team in the history of the NFL to have a winning record through 8 games despite earning fewer yards in every single contest, per NFL on CBS.
While the final result has been what fans desire, their means of getting there have not been ideal. In every one of their wins, it has taken clutch plays from the defense in order to give themselves a shot at a victory. Somehow, Kenny Pickett and company keep managing fourth-quarter comeback drives, but why does it always have to come down to this?
Are the Steelers a fraudulent team?
The manner in which they have been winning football games has caused many to criticize the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first half of the season. So are they really as good as their record suggests?
The short answer is no... and to be quite honest, this shouldn't really be up for debate. Through their first 8 games, the Steelers are 29th in points per game, 28th in yards per game, and 30th in yards allowed per game, per ESPN stats.
However, the most condemning evidence against this 5-3 football team is the fact that they are -30 in point differential at this point in the season. This means that they are being outscored by their opponents by nearly 4 points per game, but are managing to find ways to squeak out victories.
Don't get me wrong, showing up in the clutch is very important. But both the game film and the numbers suggest that this is a pretty bad team. Now that Matt Canada and Kenny Pickett have been working together for a year-and-a-half, we would have expected some improvements by now from this offense, but not much has changed.
Perhaps the Steelers will continue this bizarre trend and keep winning football teams despite being outgained in every game. At some point, however, we assume that their luck will run out, and if they are to enter the postseason this year, this method of winning obviously won't yield great results in the playoffs.
The Pittsburgh Steelers need to start finding ways to win football games more decisively, and there are still major improvements that need to be made before we can begin to believe that Tomlin's team is as good as their record suggests. They haven't given us much reason to be confident, and I think we can call them a fraudulent team until proven otherwise.