Historically, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been about defense. They have a laundry list of Hall of Fame players and that Steel Curtain pride still runs deep even decades later.
That may be changing now, though. Linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a spinal injury that has ended his season, and the team went on to give up 38 points to the Baltimore Ravens.
The 7-6 Ravens are a solid team, and the rivalry is always heated, but they’re not that good. This is the same team that lost 44-7 to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The same team the Steelers beat 26-9 the last time around.
It was clear that the defense just wasn’t the same without Shazier, and running back Le’Veon Bell knows that may push them into an offensive focus. To beat teams like the New England Patriots – they likely can’t slow Tom Brady down at all if they can’t stop Joe Flacco – they’ll have to throw up as many points as possible. They’ll have to outscore everyone.
“We can win a shootout against anybody,” Bell said, per DVE’s Mike Prisuta. “We may have to.”
They can. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for over 500 yards, with more than 200 going to wideout Antonio Brown. Bell ran for just 48 yards, but he scored twice. He also added 9 catches for 77 yards and another touchdown.
The biggest problem, though, is simply the old adage about defense winning championships. As the 2013 Denver Broncos proved, an electric offense may be enough to get to the title game, but it can fall short if it’s thrown up against a top-notch defense. Winning in shootouts is very risky and could fall apart if the offense doesn’t click on nearly 100 percent of the snaps.