Why Did The Pittsburgh Steelers' Steel Curtain Collapse?

Football ManiaxsSenior Writer IDecember 11, 2009

By Derek Lofland.

The Pittsburgh Steelers became only the second defending Super Bowl champion to lose five games in a row when they lost to Cleveland 13-6 on Thursday night. 

Unlike the 1987 Giants, the Steelers did not endure three losses with replacement players during a players strike, although it sure does look like somebody kidnapped the real Pittsburgh Steelers.  

The Steelers have been on a permanent leave of absence since they beat the Minnesota Vikings to improve their record to a season-best 6-2. That victory seems like a long time ago in a different league or different season.

Five-game losing streaks are always embarrassing in the NFL. I do not know if I have seen a losing streak as bad as this one by a team with this much talent. Losing to 8-3 Cincinnati and 6-6 Baltimore by nine combined points is one thing. Losing to the 2-10 Cleveland Browns, 3-9 Kansas City Chiefs and 4-8 Oakland Raiders is another matter.

The Cleveland Browns are a team that is not only last in yards gained, but is also last in yards allowed. Their opponents outgain them by 172.2 yards per game. They have won two of their last 20 games and have failed to score more than 10 points in 12 of their last 20 games.

The Browns had 17 sacks entering their game with the Steelers; they had eight on Thursday night alone. That single stat demonstrates the quality of the play in Pittsburgh over the last five weeks.

The Oakland Raiders have not won 10 games or more since 2002. Coming into this week they were 31st in points scored and 31st in yards gained.  The only reason they are not 32nd is that Cleveland has a franchise.

The Kansas City Chiefs have won nine games in their last 41 games. The last time they beat a team that finished with a winning record before Pittsburgh this year was October 7, 2007, when they beat the 11-5 Jacksonville Jaguars. They are 30th in yards gained and 31st in yards allowed.

These three teams are not just bad; they are about as bad as any team the NFL has seen in recent years. Yet they all have one thing in common: They all were able to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the same season...

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