The light has to stay on. That’s Cam Heyward’s message of the week. A hot and cold Pittsburgh Steelers’ team is in search of its first winning streak of the season. And if they want any chance of getting back into postseason contention, they must beat the Atlanta Falcons this weekend. Speaking to reporters Thursday via Steelers.com, Heyward offered up an analogy for the team’s mindset.
“It should be our start to doing that,” Heyward said of winning two in a row. “But it doesn’t come easy. It can’t be an on and off switch. It needs to just stay on.”
By the way, if you’re wondering about Heyward’s attire, it’s the consequence of a bet lost with Michigan alum Chris Wormley after Heyward’s Buckeyes got their doors blown off this weekend.
Pittsburgh’s season has been nothing but a flickering light. A quality Week One victory followed up by a four-game losing streak. Another upset over Tampa Bay then two straight losses into the bye week. Since the bye, things have been better, winners of two of their last three, but making the postseason is nearly impossible without a winning streak.
The Steelers are in position to achieve that. Despite playing on the road, Pittsburgh is slight favorites against the Atlanta Falcons. They’re 5-7 this season and have lost three of their last four games, including dropping 19-13 to the Washington Commanders this past weekend. They have a strong and varied run game but lack any semblance of a passing attack with a below-average defense and limited pass rush.
The fact the Steelers haven’t had a winning streak this season is something semi-historic. There’s still time but if the team can’t win back-to-back games this season, it’ll be the first such instance since 2003. Of course, much of that speaks to the team’s overall track record of success but even the team’s back-to-back 8-8 finishes in 2012-2013 and the 2019 season without Ben Roethlisberger produced winning streaks. To take it a step further, 2003 is the only season since the merger the team didn’t have at least one winning streak during the season. Even in the down years of the 80s, the early 2000s, they managed to do it at least once.
But 2022 has been a hard year, full of offensive transition, defensive injury, and a tough schedule. The rest of the season looks a bit more forgiving with games against the Falcons, Las Vegas Raiders, and Carolina Panthers upcoming so odds are, the Steelers will find a win streak sometime this season. But there’s no time like the present and this current Pittsburgh squad has zero margin for error.