For the Pittsburgh Steelers, 2019 was full of drama and injuries. Although 2020 holds promise for the team, a look back at 2019 shows much to forget.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were disappointing in 2018, so 2019 started with some changes. The most notable change was the trade of Pro Bowler Antonio Brown. The trade originally looked like a big loss for the Steelers, but following Brown’s antics in Oakland, it turned out to be a steal.
The other notable move by Pittsburgh early in 2019 was the move to trade up in the NFL Draft and select Devin Bush with the newly acquired 10th pick overall. The Steelers also added high-profile players in free agency, signing Steve Nelson, Mark Barron, and Donte Moncrief.
Fast forward to September, where the most important part of the calendar year begins, and the story is the injury bug right from the start. Ben Roethlisberger went down in week 3, marking the beginning of a very trying season.
Pittsburgh started out much like it did in 2018: very poorly. At 1-4 following an overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the Steelers appeared to be out of any playoff hunt. However, the team found a way to win seven of its next eight games.
The trade made for Minkah Fitzpatrick proved to be the move needed to spark a turnaround. He was acquired from the Dolphins in September, and he was one of the best players and biggest stories of the year for Pittsburgh.
One other story in 2019 for the Steelers was the game in Cleveland, where Myles Garrett clubbed Mason Rudolph with his own helmet late in the game. That game in Cleveland was the only Steelers loss in a successful eight game stretch, though it had the largest impact of any game this year.
The midseason turnaround was very similar to the 2018 season, and it turns out that should have been a warning to fans. In 2018, the Steelers struggled after a very successful stretch in October and November, ultimately coming up short of the postseason. In 2019, the team did the same, going 0-3 in its last three games.
The Steelers’ 8-8 year is disappointing for many reasons. The offense let down a defense that put together elite performances each week. The injury to Ben Roethlisberger was the most costly of the year, but it was only made worse by injuries to James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Vance McDonald, Stephon Tuitt, and many more.
2019 will be a year that everyone will remember, yet want to forget for the Steelers. The Antonio Brown saga will define the year’s first half, while injuries and a shocking trip to Cleveland will define the actual season.
The defense provided some of the only bright spots of 2019, and it will be something to look forward to as the calendar flips to 2020.
What will you remember most from the 2019 year? Leave your comments below!