The Steelers have clinched a spot in the playoffs, and if how it happened is locked within the mystery of something the NFL refers to as "strength of victory," that they have qualified for the postseason for the seventh time in the past 10 seasons is commendable.
But if they perform in the upcoming playoffs as they did here last Sunday against the New York Jets, their stay will be brief.
The Steelers lost to the Jets, 22-17, in a game thrilling to CBS for a down-to-the-wire outcome that wasn't determined really until after the scoreboard clock read 0:00. The final possession of the game had the Steelers drive 82 yards in 15 plays, with some extra drama coming from their conversions of a third-and-24, a third-and-10, and then another third-and-10. But when a last-ditch Ben Roethlisberger attempt to Matt Spaeth fell incomplete, the excitement disintegrated and reality hit. At least reality should have hit.
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"Strength of victory" might have been a convoluted path to the playoffs, but more performances like last Sunday's will be a direct route home.
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