Formerly one of the most difficult places to play in, Acrisure Stadium (Heinz Field) has become a house of horrors for the home-team Pittsburgh Steelers after consecutive losses to two of the worst teams the NFL currently has to offer. Their underwhelming effort against the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football has brought this rabid fandom to a whimper.
Pittsburgh has undoubtedly been worse on offense since losing Kenny Pickett to an ankle injury (and he had his own issues) and being forced to turn to Mitch Trubisky. The former Pro Bowler was unable to consistently move the ball down the field and the Steelers defense allowed the Patriots to post a rare productive passing attack. Actually, it ended a historic drought.
There is no way to put a positive spin on this result. “What a failure. This team had a golden opportunity. Only Pittsburgh can trip over their feet like this,” Alex Kozora of Steelers Depot posted on X after the 21-18 defeat.
New England quarterback Bailey Zappe completed 19-of-28 pass attempts for 240 yards and three touchdowns, while throwing one interception. This was a prime matchup for Mike Tomlin's defense, but it quickly fell behind. Alex Highsmith leaving the game with a neck injury only made matters worse.
Pittsburgh mounted a comeback in the second half but could not pull off a potential game-tying or winning drive in the closing moments. The team subsequently falls out of an AFC Wild Card slot and will now visit the Indianapolis Colts in an immensely important Week 15 showdown.
Fans' optimism is unlikely to pick back up, though. The Steelers continue to go through a terrible identity crisis on offense and do not appear any closer to finding their way out of it.