At one point, the Pittsburgh Steelers had the best record in the NFL. They weren’t the best team in the NFL, but they had the best record. Well, that feat is now a thing of the past.
Pittsburgh dropped its third straight game on Monday Night Football to fall to 11-3. The 27-17 loss came to a Cincinnati Bengals team that is now 3-10-1 and playing with a second-string quarterback, running back and makeshift offensive line.
Yes, that’s the squad that just beat the 11-win Steelers. Guys, there’s no other way to put this: Pittsburgh is a terrible football team right now. Like, so bad, they’re not even watchable.
The defense is a shell of its former self. Yes, injuries to linebackers Bud Dupree and Devin Bush have contributed to the decline, but it’s more than that. It’s missed tackles, missed assignments and all around poor play.
OK, so how does the offense stack up? Well, it’s probably worse.
We have never seen longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger look this bad. He finished 20-of-38 (52.6 percent) for 170 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also had two fumbles, one of which he lost.
The arm strength simply isn’t there, and neither is the will to do anything about it — or at least it seems that way.
The good news is the run game with Benny Snell Jr. finally got going in the second half. He finished with 107 total yards (84 rushing, 23 receiving) and a rushing touchdown, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
It’s crazy to think that Pittsburgh was the only undefeated team left in the NFL just three weeks ago. Now they’re on a three-game losing streak, including losses to the Bengals and the 6-7 Washington Football Team.
You know who is absolutely loving this, though? Cleveland. At 10-4, the Browns are now only one game back in the AFC North race.
If the Indianapolis Colts beat the Steelers, then Cleveland will need only two things to win the division: 1) a win over the New York Jets in Week 16 and 2) a win over Pittsburgh in Week 17. That second part doesn’t seem overly difficult anymore.
The Steelers will be in the playoffs, but they might not win another game this season. What an unfortunate turnaround.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.