The Pittsburgh Steelers have reached the depressing point in the season that arrives for every deeply disappointing squad. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger broke out the "M" word.
Big Ben said Wednesday, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that Sunday's game against the Patriots is a "must win."
We're always a little skeptical of the "must win" tag. If the Steelers lose the game and fall to 2-6, is their season over? If they win in Foxborough, is the following game against Buffalo no longer a "must win"?
The sentiment from Roethlisberger is understandable. The Steelers are running out of time to prove they can be a quality team. The defense plays well in spurts but gives up big plays at inopportune times. The offense is inconsistent from quarter to quarter.
Sunday's matchup is not the mismatch that the records suggest. New England has struggled to stop the run in recent weeks. Pittsburgh's defense has more than enough talent to slow down Tom Brady's sluggish offense.
The Steelers and Patriots have played a lot of big games since 2001, and this one doesn't have that sort of feel. But Roethlisberger knows how pivotal it is for Pittsburgh, whether a "must win" exists in Week 9 or not.
Around The League wrote up midseason takeaways for every team in the NFC and AFC. I also reviewed the season so far and picked my teams to emerge in the second half.