PITTSBURGH -- Mike Tomlin acknowledged that the Pittsburgh Steelers have played themselves back into postseason contention when he performed a quick audit of their remaining schedule.
But the seventh-year coach followed with a caveat, one that is easy to gloss over while conjuring up different scenarios that will put the Steelers in the playoffs.
The mediocrity in the AFC, Tomlin said Tuesday, won’t matter if the Steelers don’t take care of their own business.
“We’ve got four AFC North games left. We’ve got five AFC games left. All of that is nice, well and good but it’s irrelevant unless we win,” Tomlin said at his weekly news conference. “Our focus is where it should be and that’s on this week’s challenges and preparing for the Cleveland Browns.”
Tomlin was right on point with that message, and expect to hear a lot of the same coming out of the Steelers’ locker room this week.
One benefit of having a veteran team is the Steelers should be able to stay focused on the Browns as well as the reality of their situation.
Yes, a two-game winning streak has given the Steelers four victories in their last six games and strengthened their playoff pulse. But 6-10 is still as much in play as 9-7 is given how the first 10 games played out.
And it’s been less than a month since the Steelers followed a two-game winning streak with bad losses at Oakland and New England.
Curiously, Tomlin said he does not plan to call to his players’ attention the collective face plant they did after the Steelers’ only other winning streak this season.
“We believe in really kind of living in the present and not seeking comfort based on recent results or being cautious based on past results,” Tomlin said. “Whether the past experiences are positive or negative we’re just not overanalyzing it. We simply want to get better each and every time. I think in recent weeks we’ve been able to do that, and I think we need to continue to do that.”