With their 27-17 win on Sunday, pundits are going to talk about how the Steelers made a statement against a good team. But there’s a strong argument that the good team the Steelers beat actually beat themselves.
The Vikings turned the ball over twice with less than seven minutes remaining, both of which resulted in defensive touchdowns for Pittsburgh. Brett Favre had a hand in both of the turnovers, as he was stripped once (which was returned by LaMarr Woodley for a 77-yard touchdown) and intercepted once (which was returned by Keyaron Fox for an 82-yard touchdown). In fairness to Favre, the interception ricocheted off Chester Taylor’s hands, but he was also a tad quick throwing the ball while setting up the screen.
Some may view Minnesota’s two turnovers as Pittsburgh’s defense making things happen. But the reality is that the fumble and interception were gifts by Favre and the Vikings, who were in scoring range both times. Minnesota had a chance to come away with a victory and wound up serving up a win for the Steelers.
That’s not to say that the Steelers didn’t earn the win, because they did. They held Adrian Peterson to only 69 yards on 18 carries and deserve credit for not only forcing two key turnovers, but also turning them into immediate points. But this was hardly a statement win. Not only did the Vikings turn the ball over twice late in the game, but they also committed 11 penalties (the Steelers only had three) and found ways to shoot themselves in the foot multiple times.