Mike Tomlin didn't try to hide his disappointment after a second home loss to a two-win team over a five-day span. The Steelers coach, however, showed resolve when asked where his embattled team goes from here.
Tomlin offered a quick response when asked what gives him the confidence that his team will bounce back.
"This is what we do," he said. "This is who we are."
History suggests that Tomlin is right. While Steelers fans are likely tired of hearing it, Tomlin has never had a losing season, which suggests that, no matter how bleak things might be, the Steelers have always found a way to remain competitive right to the end.
Steelers fans, however, don't appear to be content with just scraping by anymore. While it's been two decades since Pittsburgh's last losing season, most fans are more focused on the team's current stretch without a playoff win, which currently stands at seven years and counting.
Ending that drought was the expectation for this Steelers team back in training camp. Now, it appears that making the playoffs would suffice as a successful season for Pittsburgh, which is now 7-6 after a 6-3 start. Given the state of the team, it's possible that many fans would rather see the team finish 7-10 while getting a better draft pick than scratch and claw to nine wins and either miss the playoffs or bow out in the first round.
That, however, is not what the Steelers do. Rest assured that Tomlin will try his best to rally the troops for the season's final four weeks, starting with next Saturday's road game in Indianapolis. While not everyone agrees with it, the Steelers will continue to try to win every game on their schedule. Whether they do that, however, is anyone's guess.
If the Steelers are going to turn things around, they'll have to get more production on offense. Pittsburgh has scored just 36 points on its last three games. The bottom came out on Thursday night, as the offense gained just 264 yards and were a paltry 3 of 14 on third down.
"I've got to play better," quarterback Mitch Trubisky said after Thursday's loss. "I feel like I let the guys down. I've got to be better for the guys and for the team. ... I didn't play good enough for us to win. That's how I'm feeling right now."