18 July 2024

month ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers were in the midst of one of football’s great stretches of doing more with less. Despite a limited (read: bad) quarterback in Kenny Pickett, a woeful offensive coordinator who had just been fired, and a defense that gave up yards by the bushel, the Steelers entered Week 13 with a 7–4 record. The team had already become the first in league history to sit above .500 through nine or more games despite losing the yardage margin in each of them. That Dec. 3 game against the 2–10 Arizona Cardinals would be at home, as would the following week’s clash with the New England Patriots, who also had all of two wins to their name. Despite Pittsburgh’s flaws, both opponents should have been quite easy pickings for a playoff-bound squad—but instead, the Steelers made more history, by becoming the first team with a winning record to lose consecutive games to


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