ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith is a noted Steelers fan who, like the rest of football fans across the country, watched Monday as the Washington Football Team put an end to Pittsburgh's undefeated season with a 23-17 comeback win.
As disappointing as the final result might have been for Steelers fans hoping to see a 16-0 regular-season finish, Smith talked Tuesday on “First Take” about how he saw past their previous 11-0 record and actually felt a loss would be “good for them.”
“I love the fact that the Steelers lost,” Smith said. “It doesn’t bother me at all. I knew that the perfection that we saw from them record-wise was not real. We’ve seen holes in their team on too many occasions where wins were too rough to come by…They looked absolutely awful in their last two games.”
Washington fell behind 14-0 in the second quarter but climbed back into the game with a strong second half that saw both running back Peyton Barber and tight end Logan Thomas find the end zone. The loss comes one week after the Steelers nearly lost to a depleted Ravens roster that was relying on third-string quarterback Trace McSorley by the end of the game.
Smith was blunt in his assessment of how the Steelers have been playing.
“I like the fact that they lost this game because guess what: You’re on notice,” Smith said. “You might be 11-1 but you can do all of this for naught. You can get to the postseason and get bounced out in the very first round, not even make it to a divisional playoff game. Why? Because you look like hot trash.”
The Steelers lucked out that their first loss came at the hands of an NFC team, allowing them to retain the top spot in the AFC. Washington’s win pushed the team to 5-7, keeping pace with the New York Giants after they beat the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday to hold onto the NFC East lead.
New York holds the tiebreaker over Washington after winning both head-to-head matchups earlier this season.