The 2023 season was supposed to mark some kind of return to prominence for the Pittsburgh Steelers. At least that’s what the expectations were in western Pennsylvania.After a dominant preseason with second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett posting a perfect preseason passer rating, the Steelers players seemed to enjoy the hype.
But after a 14-point loss at home to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13, the Steelers appear to be reeling on a short week.
The good feelings about moving on from offensive coordinator Matt Canada are gone.
The Steelers have dropped two out of the last three contests. Despite a very favorable schedule, experts are predicting them to miss the playoffs.
A second consecutive season without playoff football will not sit well with Pittsburgh fans. The Steelers have missed the postseason in consecutive years just twice since the turn of the century.
It’s also been six seasons and counting since the Steelers won a playoff game. That’s the longest drought for the team since it recorded its first postseason victory in 1972.
But the failure to secure a playoff berth is not the doomsday scenario for the 2023 Steelers. It’s entering the 2024 season without Pickett taking positive steps in his development, and the team feeling secure that Pickett is a franchise quarterback.
On top of the humbling loss to the Cardinals, the Steelers lost Pickett to an ankle injury in the second quarter.
Pittsburgh’s Week 13 performance, and thus season, could have been a lot different if Pickett remained healthy for one more play. Immediately after he left, the Steelers failed to convert on a fourth-and-goal opportunity from the 1-yard line