The Pittsburgh Steelers are 11-0.
A few weeks ago, Coach Tomlin coined this catch phrase.
“The only thing that is perfect about our team is our record.”
That is certainly true of the Steelers journey in the past week or so.
'We're fortunate tonight. It's good to proceed with the victory. I acknowledge that. But not a lot happened tonight to be proud of and to be excited about other than that.' – Coach Mike Tomlin following the win over the Ravens
— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) December 3, 2020
After finally playing and winning the scheduled Thanksgiving game six days late, the Steelers were dealt bad news via injuries.
Though he finished the game, Tomlin announced on Thursday that CB Steven Nelson was getting an MRI for a knee injury.
God’s speed to Steven Nelson. Quite likely he was in a lot of pain, but in typical #Steelers fashion of guts and loyalty, he stayed in the game. 🙏#StevenNelson @steelers @SteelersUnite #Pittsburgh @SuperBowl #SteelersNation
— Laurie Stieber (@stieber_laurie) December 3, 2020
He expected to have additional information on his condition on Friday.
Nelson is in his 6th NFL season.
He spent the first four years of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Nelson started all 11 games this season.
He had 2 interceptions against the Philadelphia Eagles and a fumble recovery against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Through 11 games, he recorded 27 solo tackles.
— That Blitz Guy (@ThatBlitzGuy) December 2, 2020
The bad news about Steven Nelson came after the jarring news about OL Bud Dupree being lost for the season.
“You can characterize it as official that Bud is out for the year with a significant knee injury.”
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 3, 2020
Dupree went down with about 6 minutes left in the Ravens game; it was later revealed that he tore his ACL.
He has recorded 19.5 sacks over the past two seasons, and he is responsible for a lot of the Steelers defensive success.
Next man up to fill Dupree’s role will be rookie Alex Highsmith out of Charlotte.
Alex Highsmith's first sack. He's been an impressive player. Tries his speed rush, gets stalled but works back inside to get the sack. That's a nice job to change his pass rush plan on the fly and have a hot motor to get the sack. pic.twitter.com/wHGT89hGJ5
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) November 10, 2020
Highsmith has played in all 11 Steelers games this season.
He has 1 interception and 14 solo tackles.
The Steelers are essentially playing a doubleheader this week.
On the heels of the Wednesday evening victory, the team began preparing for their Monday game against the Washington Football Team.
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger said in the postgame interview that the team would be watching film on Washington that same night; he indicated they had a few hours off before getting back to work.
Both have COVID-19.
Following the Monday night game, the Steelers play Buffalo on Sunday night football.
That means the team has 3 games in 12 days.
A schedule like that is difficult to maintain especially near the end of the season.
The Perfect Record
Despite all of that, the Steelers march ahead and are still perfect.
If the Steelers end up winning all 3 of these games in a 12 day span, they really are the best team in the NFL.
No one can deny the Steelers had the roughest road to navigate with COVID-19 this season.
Two of their opponents, the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens, had major outbreaks right before they were scheduled to play them.
In the case of the Titans, the Steelers got an impromptu early bye in Week 4 instead of the scheduled Week 7 bye.
And everyone knows about the Thanksgiving game saga that was touch-and-go for days that had to affect preparation for the game.
See how the Steelers bounce back as they take on Washington on Monday, December 7 at 5 pm on FOX.