The Shouldn’t Be Steelers Are a Dangerous Out

StelersThe Steelers are the shouldn’t be team.

The team that shouldn’t be here. The team everyone said wasn’t going to be where they are at. And that makes them a dangerous out.

They are the team that before the season the experts were saying shouldn’t be a playoff team because they were playing one of the NFL’s toughest schedules and the defense wasn’t nearly good enough for them to go more than 8-8 or, if lucky, 9-7. The experts were wrong. The Steelers finished 10-6.

Then they were the shouldn’t be team when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger went down with a knee injury in the third week of the season while many were declaring Roethlisberger’s injury as a shouldn’t be able to return any time soon type of injury.

They were wrong. Big Ben missed just four games.

Bring on Michael Vick and then Landry Jones and everyone was saying they shouldn’t be able to win with those guys.

They were wrong. The Steelers found a way to go 2-2 with a guy off the street and guy who easily could have been cut at the end of training camp.

Then Roethlisberger comes back but the Steelers lost to the Bengals at home in early November and the AFC North was declared completely over.

And in a way it was, but it almost wasn’t as the shouldn’t be kids rolled off five wins in their next six games to put pressure on the Cincinnati Bengals.

But a loss to the Baltimore Ravens the Sunday after Christmas brought back all the shouldn’t be talk.

The Steelers shouldn’t be a playoff team because the New York Jets controlled their own destiny and were playing a Buffalo Bills team that wasn’t playing for anything. Plus, the Steelers can’t win on the road. They will struggle even against a bad Cleveland Browns team.

But again the shouldn’t bes became the should bes.

The Steelers beat the Browns and the Bills beat the Jets and all of a sudden the shouldn’t be kids were now in the playoffs.

Then came Saturday night’s playoff game.

It started with the Steelers losing starting running back Deangelo Williams against the Browns to an injury and everyone said they shouldn’t be able to run the ball vs. the Bengals.

But they did. To the tune of one of their best running games of the season and found themselves up 15-0 at the end of three quarters.

But then the team all of a sudden found itself in a shouldn’t be position again.

With under two minutes to play, A.J. Green’s touchdown gave the Bengals a 16-15 lead and the shouldn’t be started to surface again.

The Steelers shouldn’t be able to drive.

After all, Roethlisberger was on the sideline with a shoulder injury, suffered on the last play of the third quarter, and Jones was in at quarterback for the first time since mid-November.

It finally looked like the shouldn’t be crowd was going to be right when Jones threw an interception on the first offensive play after the Green touchdown.

But, again, the shouldn’t be kids found a way to be should be kids.

First, Ryan Shazier forced a fumble.

Then, Big Ben, adding to a legacy that will not be forgotten anytime soon in these parts, came off the bench. Barely able to lift his shoulder he drove the Steelers to the around midfield.

But again the shouldn’t bes started popping up.

It was fourth-and-3. And with Ben’s shoulder the Steelers just shouldn’t be able to get the first down.

But they did, on a short pass – apparently the only kind Ben could throw – to Antonio Brown,

And then the shouldn’t bes once again became the yes we ares as the Bengals imploded.

You know the story. Two personal foul penalties and Chris Boswell 35-yard field goal, and the Steelers won 18-16 and are on their way to Denver to play the top-seeded Broncos.

And again we will hear the shouldn’t bes.

We will hear how Big Ben shouldn’t be healthy enough for them to win.

We will hear that the vicious hit Brown took at the end of the game will keep him out of the game.

We will hear how the last time they went to Denver Tim Tebow beat them in overtime.

We will hear how with Peyton Manning, who missed the last game with an injury, the Broncos will avenge an earlier 34-27 loss to the Steelers – a Steeler win that shouldn’t have been considering they were down 27-10.

But at this point are you really betting against this shouldn’t be team?

I’m not.

I have no idea if they can beat the Broncos.

But I know this. Anytime they have been told they shouldn’t be doing something this year. They do. And it sort of feels like they are playing with house money right now. And do you really want to deal with a team who is playing with house money and one that is told they shouldn’t be here?

Column by Chris Rossetti


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