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After Further Review: One game or a breakthrough?

After further review …

It was worth just one game in the standings, no matter how dramatic.

But because of the ebb and flow, the adversity faced and the individual and collective maturation on display in Lucas Oil Stadium, the 24-17 victory the Steelers earned over the Colts on Monday night meant far more to the visitors, potentially, than the difference between 4-7 and 3-8.

"We've been on the brink of just breaking through," inside linebacker Myles Jack maintained. "This is for sure a chance for us to really go on that road and get things going."

They'll be on the road again this Sunday in Atlanta.

But when they get there the Steelers might be armed with a belief they haven't had previously.

Or, at the very least, reaffirmed reason to believe.

Because they blew a 16-3 advantage but then rallied to re-take the lead.

Because the defense dug in and made certain 24 points would be enough.

And most of all because rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett orchestrated the fourth quarter drive they had to have with veteran play-making and veteran savvy.

Both proved contagious late.

But it's the intangibles demonstrated that really have a chance to resonate.

"The fight and the composure and the toughness, no question," rookie wide receiver George Pickens insisted. "When the moments got harder, we kinda actually stepped up more."

Tight end Zach Gentry concurred and contemplated what that might mean moving forward.

"If we can learn how to harness that it's gonna be big for us," Gentry contended.

It meant everything in Indy, especially for an offense that more often than not has been groping for the consistency to finish.

Not this time.

And maybe not next time, either.

"We're coming together," Pickens maintained. "The more time we have, we're closer, we're gonna bond, just naturally. It's not going to be 'gotta do this more,' or 'gotta do that less,' it's gonna naturally happen."

The Steelers knew there would be a gestation period once they made the switch to Pickett.

It was the timetable that was and remains uncertain.

And while the offense remains far from a finished product, tangible progress is now identifiable.

What that might mean for the offense and especially for the rookie QB is intriguing.

"On prime-time TV? I don't know, I'm not a rookie quarterback so I don't know but it's gotta feel damn good, right?" center Mason Cole suggested.

"It's exciting to see, to show who he is as a leader, and the command he has on the field, it's really cool."

So, there's that, even at 4-7.

And legitimate anticipation regarding what might happen next, in Atlanta and beyond.

Pickens was already enthusiastically looking ahead in the immediate aftermath of what transpired against the Colts.

"We have a few more games left, now we're starting to get the rhythm of it," he assessed. "And next year, we can improve a lot."

They're still not where they want or need to be, but they aren't 3-8, either.

All things considered, 4-7 has never looked so good.

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