The 2015 Pittsburgh Steelers ended their season this evening in Denver with a 23-16 loss to the top-seeded Broncos and they really shouldn’t hang their heads. While 31 NFL teams end their seasons in failure, only one gets to call their season a success. With all that the Steelers faced this year, some will call it a success of sorts but I can’t get myself there.
Instead, I can’t help but wonder “what if…”
What if… LeVeon Bell had never gotten hurt? Would that have been him carrying the ball that Fitzgerald Toussaint fumbled away tonight? Bell as you know doesn’t fumble the football and likely wouldn’t have in that situation.
What if… DeAngelo Williams had been healthy? DWill had been so good in place of Bell all season long until the season finale when he suffered the foot injury the caused him to miss both playoff games. Would he have been carrying that ball today?
What if… Maurkice Pouncey hadn’t been lost for the season? While I think Cody Wallace did a yeoman’s job in his place it’s hard not to think of what Pouncey may have allowed this unit to do in both the running game and passing game.
What if… Ben Roethlisberger had been able to stay healthy as he had in the previous two seasons? Common sense tells us that had Big Ben been able to stay healthy then today’s game may very well have taken place in Heinz Field rather than in Denver. We might also be talking about an MVP season for him.
What if… Brandon Boykin had been used on defense sooner? Boykin wasn’t the be-all, end-all for the Steelers’ defense but he made a difference in coverage. Could his presence have provided the Steelers with an extra win or two?
What if… the durable Antonio Brown isn’t knocked out of today’s game? I can’t say what his presence would have done in the outcome but it’s fair to suggest it could have made a huge difference.
What if… Chris Boswell is signed immediately after Shaun Suisham was lost for the season? Think of how different things might be had Boswell been kicking and not Josh Scobee in the first month of the season. Again, this team may have been playing at home today.
The Steelers played hard today and probably showed better than most thought they would considering the adversity they faced. In the end it was too much to overcome.
As the wheels go up tonight on the flight home I have to believe many minds will wonder about this season that is now over. They, like we the fans, will wonder what if?