On Sunday afternoon the Pittsburgh Steelers overcame a 17-point second-half deficit to beat the Indianapolis Colts, 28-24, completing the biggest second-half comeback of the Mike Tomlin era.
With the victory the Steelers won the AFC North for the first time since 2017, ahead of the Baltimore Ravens (who beat the New York Giants to jump to 10-5) and the Cleveland Browns (who lost to the New York Jets to fall to 10-5).
At the moment, the Ravens and Browns are the No. 6 and No. 7 seeds in the AFC playoffs, respectively.
The Steelers are currently the No. 2 seed, pending the outcome of the Buffalo Bills-New England Patriots game on Monday night. With a victory, the Bills will move to the No. 2 seed and the Steelers will fall to No. 3, by virtue of Buffalo’s head-to-head win over Pittsburgh two weeks ago.
Mike Tomlin: ‘Fine Line Between Drinking Wine and Squashing Grapes’
In his postgame press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked about the difference between the product on the field in the first half and the product in the second half.
“We missed on some opportunities in the first half,” Tomlin offered. “I don’t know if it was that dramatic. It’s a fine line between drinking wine and squashing grapes, as we say in this business. And sometimes, it’s very subtle. We didn’t change drastically in terms of our approach or what we were doing.”
He also said:
“We thought some chunk plays were there [in the first half]. We didn’t necessarily get them or capitalize on them, but that wasn’t going to stop us. We weren’t going to be deterred, and it was a critical component in terms of us getting back in the game. You’re not going to get back in the game three yards at a time when you are down the way we were down, particularly when we gave up a field goal to start the second half.”
Former Steelers Weigh in During the Game
Clearly, many former Steelers players were watching the Colts-Steelers game on television, and some took to Twitter to convey their feelings about the offense they were seeing in the first half, not to mention the remarkable second-half comeback.
For example, former inside linebacker Ryan Shazier had a suggestion for Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner:
Meanwhile, former Steelers offensive guard Alan Faneca alluded to the power of superstition, which prompted fellow retired guard Ramon Foster to add his two cents:
Will the Steelers Rest Players Next Week at Cleveland?
As for the prospect of the Steelers resting players in the season-finale, Tomlin didn’t want to address the question so soon after the game. Never mind the fact that the results of other games in the next 24 hours might also impact his thinking on the subject.
“We’ll ponder those possibilities in the morning,” he said. “Tonight we’re going to wear our hats and T-shirts,” referring to the 2020 AFC North Champion hats and T-shirts that were no doubt handed out to players in the locker room following today’s victory.
The Steelers (12-3) close out the regular season next Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.
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