Monday Night Football reaction: Steelers can contend in wide-open AFC

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth
Photo of Ricky Dimon

Ricky Dimon

NFL· 1 month ago

Show Bio

Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

Beating the Chicago Bears at home really isn’t going to tell you much that you didn’t already know. This was one of those cases where a loss would have pretty much been a season-ender, while a win doesn’t do anything aside from keeping you afloat. Such was the reality of the situation for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were basically in survive-and-advance mode on Monday Night Football. They were thoroughly underwhelming against Chicago, but a 29-27 victory and ensuing 5-3 record means that the Steelers are still very much in the mix.

Let’s recap what happened in Pittsburgh on Monday night and break down what it means.

Land of the Freiermuth

Honestly my main takeaway from Monday Night Football is that I held on for a victory in my fantasy matchup (I had a 15-point lead going into it with Diontae Johnson in action, while my opponent was down to Najee Harris).

It would have been much less of a sweat if Pat Freiermuth was my starting tight end. Freiermuth scored 2 touchdowns in the first half and finished with 43 yards on 5 receptions.

This one progressed similarly to the Falcons-Cowboys game a little more than 24 hours earlier. In that contest, Atlanta led 24-6 in the fourth quarter only to find itself trailing with just a few minutes remaining. The Falcons eventually avoided disaster with a last-second field goal to win 27-25. Fast forward to Monday and Pittsburgh squandered all of a 20-6 fourth-quarter advantage and fell behind 27-26 with less than 2 minutes remaining. Ben Roethlisberger and company ended up having one more drive left in them and it resulted in a 40-yard boot from Chris Bosworth that proved to be the game-winner.

Just barely beating Chicago isn’t great, but the Steelers are 5-3 and host winless Detroit next weekend. Barring complete disaster next Sunday, they will be 6-3 through 9 weeks of the season. Although the schedule gets much tougher after that, any team that is 6-3 is in good shape. Additionally, only one AFC team is better than 6-2 right now and the 7-2 Tennessee Titans just lost Derrick Henry probably for the whole season. The combination of those factors means you cannot discount head coach Mike Tomlin’s team (+2200) from conference contention.

Fields of gold

The Bears are basically out of the playoff picture now that they are 3-6. Aside from that, however, there is a lot to like if you are a Chicago fan. One, your team probably wasn’t playoff-bound anyway (not when you were 3-5 with a game at Pittsburgh followed by three of the next four against Baltimore, Arizona, and Green Bay). Now you’re in line for a better draft pick.

Two (and speaking of draft picks), Justin Fields delivered the most impressive drive of his career to date when Chicago went 75 yards in 2 minutes to take a 27-26 lead with 1:46 remaining. The No. 11 overall selection in this year’s NFL Draft threw for 291 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception to go along with 45 yards on 8 keepers.

On the other side of the ball, the Bears limited Pittsburgh to 103 rushing yards on an anemic 3.3 yards per carry and they got a 25-yard fumble return for a TD by DeAndre Houston-Carson in the fourth quarter.

If not for some absolutely horrendous officiating, Chicago could have and probably would have won this game. It didn’t, and as a result they can all but kiss 2021 goodbye. But the future — both the not-too-distant and the long-term— is looking pretty good.

Pickswise is the home of free NFL Predictions  and NFL Odds. Check out the latest NFL Prop Bets and NFL Parlays as well as expert NFL Underdog Picks and NFL Computer Picks.

See All
BetMGM

$200

Bet $10, Win $200 If Your Team Covers +40 Points!

Register for a new BetMGM account & deposit $10+

Bet $10 on your team to win Money Line

Win $200 in free bets if your team covers +40 points

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

PointsBet

$200

Bet $20, Get $200 - Regardless of Outcome!

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit $20+.

Bet $20 on any game in any sport!

As soon as your game is over, you'll receive a $200 bonus - no matter whether your initial bet won or lost!

Caesars Sportsbook

$1,001

Get a $1,001 Free Bet + A FREE NBA JERSEY!

Register for a new Caesars Sportsbook account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,001

Win or lose, you'll receive a free bet matching your initial stake - up to $1,001! You'll also be given a gift card for a FREE NBA JERSEY!

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

BetRivers

$250

Get a $250 Deposit Bonus!

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make a deposit & get it doubled up to $250 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $100

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF

BetMGM

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

FanDuel Sportsbook

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

DraftKings

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

Unibet

$500

Get a $500 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $500 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $500

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim 100% Instant Deposit Match up to $100!

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

TVG

$300

Get a $300 Risk-Free Bet with TVG Racebook!

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $300

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

BetAmerica Racing

$200

$200 Sign Up Bonus!

Fast, reliable and fast payouts - you'll have your money in 72 hours, if not sooner!

Proud history of providing safe, secure, and fun betting to American patrons

BetAmerica is owned by the iconic Churchill Downs Incorporated, home of 150 years of wagering history and the world-famous Kentucky Derby

Players who sign up using ‘BET200’ code will get a $200 sign up bonus. Offer valid for 7 days after registering on BetAmerica Racing product only. 21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

TwinSpires

$400

Get a $400 Risk-Free Bet on the Breeders' Cup!

Register for a new Twinspires account using offer code PICKS400

Place a bet on the Breeders' Cup

Receive a refund if your first bet loses up to $400

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.