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The Steelers needed a huge second half rally to escape the Divisional Round against Baltimore.
Two games is hardly enough to establish a pattern or trend, but the Steelers have not been impressive in either of their playoff wins. They've developed a peculiar tendency to play only half of a game well, from the second-half comeback against the Ravens to the second-half swoon a week later against the Jets.
Coming off a bye in the Divisional Round, the Steelers took Heinz Field against Baltimore and took an opening half beating. They went to the locker room trailing 21-7 on their home field and coming off a bye week.
The second half was a different story. White Mamba led the offense out to 17 straight points to take a lead as the defense matched the rise in intensity that the offense brought. Baltimore scored just three second-half points as the Steelers won on a late TD run by Rashard Mendenhall.
Against the Jets in the AFC Championship, the Steelers played the inverse of the week before. Mike Tomlin's crew jumped out to a 24-0 lead in the first half, completely dominating the Jets in all facets. This looked like the team that would simply not accept losing another game.
Then, after a field goal as the first half expired, the Jets flipped the script and owned the second half. Unfortunately, their second half shutout of the Steelers was not enough to leave Heinz victorious, in spite of some really shoddy play by the home team.
The problem with the Steelers is their propensity to lapse for long periods of time. In that regard, they are the Lakers of the NFL: supremely talented, well-coached, experienced and maddeningly temperamental. It seems like they have an airtight squad, but with that one fatal flaw that could unravel their title hopes.
The question is, can they weather the storm of their inconsistency one more time to earn the Lombardi?