PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Steelers’ offense has put on a show over the last six weeks like at no other time in franchise history.
Nobody is enjoying watching the offense pile up the points more than the Pittsburgh defense. It has the best seat in the house for the high-scoring attack that frees the defense to get after opponents as they try to play catch-up.
“We have an offense that does a great, great job,” safety Will Allen said. “It’s hard to stop those guys.”
The Steelers scored 24 straight points last Sunday to rally for a 34-27 victory over the Denver Broncos, who lead the NFL in points and total yards allowed.
The win enabled the Steelers (9-5) to control their fate when it comes to making the playoffs; they will qualify for the postseason by winning their last two games, Sunday at Baltimore (4-10) and at Cleveland (3-11) on Jan. 3.
The Steelers could also clinch a berth Sunday if they win and the New York Jets (9-5) lose at home to the AFC East champion New England Patriots (12-2).
While the six-time Super Bowl-winning franchise has built much of its history on the foundation of strong defense, it is the offense that is leading the charge now. The Steelers have scored at least 30 points in a team-record six straight games, going 5-1 in that span to help overcome a 4-4 first half of the schedule.
“Our offense is unstoppable,” defensive end Cam Heyward said. “To have an offense that can go up and down with anybody, it doesn’t matter who’s out there. It’s pretty special.”
The offense helps take pressure off a defense that has had its ups and downs. Pittsburgh is fifth in the NFL in rushing defense with 89.4 yards allowed a game, but 31st against the pass, giving up an average of 279.1 yards.
“You really don’t see themselves rest on their laurels or patting themselves on the back,” Heyward said of the offense. “They’re trying to continue to score. You appreciate that as a defense because they give some leeway at times.”
The Steelers seemingly should be able to keep putting up big numbers against the injury-ravaged Ravens and woeful Browns.
Antonio Brown has 64 catches for 868 yards in the last six games, leading the league in both categories in that span, while quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has averaged 365.8 yards and thrown 13 touchdown passes.
The Steelers are also healthy. Everyone practiced fully Friday and no one was listed as doubtful or questionable on the injury report.
“We understand if we want to get to where we want to get to, we have to win these games,” Heyward said. “The thing we embrace is that we are in control. If we continue to win, continue to do the things we have been accustomed to doing, then we put ourselves in good spots. You can’t look at what’s going on here, what’s going on there. You take care of your business and you are all right.”