A weekly examination of the Steelers' ESPN.com Power Ranking:
Preseason: 16 | Last Week: 18 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002
The Steelers moved up four spots after finishing the season on a three-game winning streak and nearly doing what seemed impossible just a couple of weeks ago: making the playoffs following the franchise’s first 0-4 start since 1968.
The Steelers (8-8) fell agonizingly short of the postseason, where they may have been a tough out, after a missed call by officials. A non-call on an illegal formation allowed the Chargers to take the Chiefs into overtime this past Sunday, and they won to claim the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoffs -- which the Steelers would have clinched had the Chargers lost. The Steelers’ strong finish did move them into the upper half of the Power Rankings.
Here's how the panel voted Pittsburgh:
Ashley Fox: 15
Mike Sando: 14
Kevin Seifert: 14
John Clayton: 16
Dan Graziano: 16
Jamison Hensley: 15
The Steelers did not blame the missed call for their failure to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season, and instead pointed the finger at themselves. The Power Rankings show why. Six of their eight losses came against teams that are lower than the Steelers, including a particularly head-scratching one to the No. 30 Raiders. The Steelers have to eliminate the losses to teams they should beat moving forward, but they appear to be heading in the right direction.