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Steelers Make Worst of Hot Start to 2020 Season: ‘We Died on the Vine’



PITTSBURGH — The 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers were the 12th team in NFL history to start their season with 11 consecutive victories after beating the Baltimore Ravens in late November.

What they did after that 11-0 start is the very worst among the teams that got that far.

The Steelers lost four of their final five regular season games to finish at 12-4. The previous worst final record for an 11-0 team had been 14-2, which six of the other teams accomplished.

All 12 made the postseason, of course, with five winning the Super Bowl, four losing in the Super Bowl, and two losing in the Division Playoff. The 2020 Steelers were the first team to start the season 11-0 and not make it to at least the second round of the NFL postseason.

“We didn’t do enough,” head coach Mike Tomlin said on Sunday. “We didn’t position them in enough good circumstances. We didn’t make enough plays, particularly in the critical moments. We were a group that died on the vine.”

The Steelers dealt with significant injuries, especially on the defensive side of the ball, where linebackers Devin Bush and Bud Dupree were lost for the season, and Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Mike Hilton, Robert Spillane, Stephon Tuitt and Vince Williams all missed key time.

“We lost some great players, but you know, injuries are part of the game,” defensive captain Cam Heyward said. “And I can never make excuses and say injuries caught up to us but you know, there are things that have to be addressed. We just had one of the worst showings as a defense the whole year. We did not play complementary football. We did not have our offense’s back. Starts at the top with me. It was not acceptable. I don’t know what it is, but we did not play well.”

Offensively, the team struggled to run the ball in the second half of the season and Ben Roethlisberger got less and less effective as the year went on.

While the 12-4 regular season record and AFC North Division title that came along with it will look good in the team’s record, everyone involved with the 

“What an amazing run we had,” Roethlisberger lamented. “A great group of guys. I know only one team ends the season the way they want it, want to. It’s just disappointing that this season didn’t end the way we wanted it to.”