After further review: Imperfect game, perfect ending

It didn't end the way they wanted it to, other than with T.J. Watt emerging as Superman in overtime, with Chris Boswell remaining the Iceman when called upon with a game there for the taking (twice), and with a victory ultimately being secured that, the mathematics of a 17-game season aside, they had to have.

The Steelers weren't exactly celebrating having "improved" to 3-3 via Sunday night's 23-20 outlasting of Seattle, but they weren't apologizing, either.

Emerging with some much-needed self-awareness may yet prove as significant as crawling back to .500 entering the bye in the wake of a 1-3 start was critical.

"We just kept battling," defensive tackle Cam Heyward exhaled. "It's not always pretty.

"We know we're not a perfect team but who says we have to be perfect?

"Just gotta get the Ws."

The Steelers got one on Sunday night even though they blew a 14-0, second-half lead.

Even though they allowed 126 yards rushing on 22 carries in the second half.

Even though they gave up a field goal on the last play of regulation.

Even though they went three-and-out on their first possession of overtime.

All of that stuff often gets a team beat.

All of it occurring in the same game and you still win the game?

That's a tribute to resilience more than it is a revelation of imperfection.

That, at least, is a good way for the Steelers to embrace their current circumstances, which could be better but could also be much worse than 3-3 through six games with a timely opportunity to re-set at hand thanks to the upcoming bye.

Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 6 game against the Seattle Seahawks at Heinz Field

"It's hard to wrap my head around it now," Heyward continued. "In practice it'll be even harder because you gotta strive for perfection. I know we're never gonna be perfect but we can work towards perfect.

"I understand we're not a finished product. We're gonna go through some growing pains and we're not gonna be perfect but let's work toward perfect."

On Sunday night they did that with a division of labor that included:

—Joe Haeg taking over for Dan Moore Jr. at left offensive tackle in the fourth quarter.

—Arthur Maulet playing 28 defensive snaps (43 percent) as the nickel cornerback.

—James Pierre and Tre Norwood taking regular rotations in the six-defensive backs "dime" defense, which also featured Robert Spillane as the lone inside linebacker on the field more often than not for the second consecutive week.

—Ray-Ray McCloud at wide receiver for 52 offensive snaps (69 percent).

—Henry Mondeaux in the game with the Steelers trying to preserve a lead late.

Some of the above related to coaching decisions, some of it was thrust upon the Steelers.

Some of it had to do with both.

In all of those instances (and others), the Steelers were relying on players of varying levels of experience who had not been in such roles with the Steelers a year ago.

That's the "not a finished product" part Heyward referenced.

Working around and through such imperfections and not blinking is half the battle.

Watt, Boswell, Heyward, Ben Roethlisberger and Najee Harris, despite his rookie status, are among those the Steelers know are capable of handling the other half when necessary.

That much was reaffirmed against the Seahawks.

It's a formula the Steelers can win with as long as they continue to close the gap between 3-3 and the perfection they'll continue to seek.