Streaking Steelers not looking past winless Lions
They certainly haven’t been easy or pretty, but the Pittsburgh Steelers have piled up four consecutive victories after a slow start.
With a home game against the winless Detroit Lions next on the schedule, the Steelers have a good chance of keeping the momentum going.
Pittsburgh’s winning streak began with an eight-point decision over Denver. That was followed by an overtime victory over Seattle, a five-point win at Cleveland and a 29-27 squeaker over Chicago on Monday.
The Bears scored 21 fourth-quarter points and Pittsburgh (5-3) needed a 40-yard Chris Boswell field goal with 26 seconds left to avert an upset.
“We’re not exactly the best team in football right now,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “We’ve got a winning record, but if you ask most of the guys in this building, I think they would tell you we’ve got a long way to go.”
Roethlisberger isn’t going to take anything for granted. He knows the Lions are desperate to break into the win column and have the benefit of coming off a bye week.
“They’re an NFL team that’s going to come in here and want to beat us and we want to beat them,” he said. “I don’t want to look at the records or worry about who they are. They’re trying to get a win and so are we.”
Head coach Mike Tomlin wants to pound the message into the heads of his players not to overlook the Lions.
“There are no Group of 5 games, there are no homecomings. Each and every week, you’re up against paid professionals, guys I have a lot of respect for and capabilities, both coaches and players,” Tomlin said. “You couple that with the fact they’re coming off a bye week and there’s an element of the unknown. We’re coming off a short week, so it presents some challenges for us.”
Pittsburgh’s offense continues to rely on rookie running back Najee Harris, sprinkled in with Roethlisberger’s short throws. Harris has scored a rushing or receiving touchdown in five consecutive games. Roethlisberger has exceeded the 300-yard passing mark just once this season but hasn’t thrown an interception during the streak.
Roethlisberger sat out Wednesday’s walk-through to rest his right shoulder and pectoral ailments.
Half of the losses by the Lions (0-8) have come by single digits but their last outing was a disaster. They were blown out at home by Philadelphia, 44-6.
Head coach Dan Campbell is trying to take greater ownership of a punchless offense that hasn’t reached the 20-point mark since Week 1.
“I would say it involves spending a lot more time with the offense than maybe the other two phases, investment,” Campbell said. “I just want to be able to meet with the quarterback (Jared Goff) more, talk with him, just know that I feel like I have a hand print in it, if you will. It’s just investing a lot more time.”
One of the things the Lions would like to do is find a No. 1 wide receiver to complement tight end T.J. Hockenson. Rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown is expected to have an increased role.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity to go make plays,” St. Brown said. “I know I’m ready.”
Left tackle Taylor Decker could make his season debut after recovering from a finger injury. He practiced in full on Wednesday. Running back Jamaal Williams sat out practice due to a thigh injury.
Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool (toe) did not practice Wednesday and is considered week-to-week. Tight end Eric Ebron (hamstring) was a limited participant on the estimated practice report after missing the past two games.
–Field Level Media