I really do hate the term ‘must-win’ because in reality, what game isn’t a must win situation in the National Football League? You have 16 games total and arguably, those first four games are as important as any and the historical statistics bear that out. Thirty teams have started the season 0-2 in the last four seasons and none has made the playoffs.
For the Pittsburgh Steelers, the finger-pointing and poor execution must come to a halt tonight in Heinz Field because an 0-3 record means you may as well start looking to 2014 as the rival Browns apparently have. The return of Heath Miller will help but miracles cannot be expected from him.
When this game is in the books, I don’t want to hear about how they were “this close” or how they “were a few plays away” from winning this game tonight. As my Grandfather used to say, “Close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades.”
I don’t want to hear about how close the defense was to getting a few sacks or how close they were to getting those turnovers that have eluded this defense through the first two games.
We can’t afford to hear how close the running game is to coming along and we can’t afford to hear the clichés that have dogged this team for the last two seasons.
Going 0-3 is basically a death sentence in the NFL. The last time a team made the playoffs after an 0-3 start was 1998 when both the Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills did it that season. Is it impossible? No it isn’t but the Steelers would need significant help should they fall in such a position.
For the sake of the team and the fans, it would be nice to see the offense get moving in the first half and perhaps even grab a lead that is greater than two or three points. The problem is, I don’t know how ‘close’ we are to that happening.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.