Pittsburgh Steelers Are Undefeated But Not Infallible
For the eighth time in nine weeks, the Pittsburgh Steelers won a football game. That's all they've done in the 2020 season thus far as their 24-19 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday gave the Steelers an 8-0 record. They are the only remaining undefeated team in the NFL and have been for several weeks. But this week, rather than further proving that Pittsburgh is invincible, served as a reminder of just how fallible they are.
The end result is the only one that matters, but nobody in the Steelers facility will be pleased about how they got there. Pittsburgh needed to outscore Dallas 15-0 in the fourth quarter to come away with a win. They couldn't get anything going offensively for most of the day against a Cowboys defense that has been underwhelming in every possible way this season. Ben Roethlisberger ended up with 306 yards passing and three touchdowns even after hurting his knee near the end of the first half, but almost all of that production came in the second half. Even with a version of Roethlisberger that hasn't quite lived up to expectations, the Steelers should have dominated Dallas' defense. But they did not.
Pittsburgh's defense has been their strongest unit in the 2020 season, and even they disappointed this week. Dallas started Garrett Gilbert, who last played in the XFL, and he ended the day with 243 yards passing and a touchdown along with one interception. Not particularly impressive numbers, but after they shut down Lamar Jackson like few other teams have last week, one might expect the Steelers D to give Gilbert a bit more trouble. Dallas very nearly won the game with a last-minute drive that ended on the Pittsburgh 23-yard-line. They only managed to sack Gilbert twice all day. The unit gave up only 19 points, but again, this is supposed to be the best defense in the NFL and the Cowboys looked as good on offense as they have since Dak Prescott went down.
This is all rather nit-picky, to be sure, but the point is that Pittsburgh is a flawed team. They've won every game this season largely thanks to execution in the right moments, which will get a team very far. But they have issues to figure out. Roethlisberger's age is showing as he's struggled to hit his patented deep shots that have made the offense so dangerous over the last five or so years. James Conner has 69 yards rushing in total over the last two games. The offense thrives on yards after catch, which will be a problem against the stinger defenses in the league.
The Steelers are a good team, obviously. They're balanced on offense and boast a host of elite defenders. Mike Tomlin is a great coach. Big Ben still gets the job done even with his declining deep ball accuracy. But they are far from perfect. They still could be undefeated in a few weeks, seeing as their next two games come against the Bengals and Jaguars. It remains highly unlikely they'll finish the season with a zero in the loss column.