Picture this: 2016 Steelers

One step closer wasn't quite enough for Steelers

The Standard about which coach Mike Tomlin speaks so often is the highest of bars. To clear it, the Pittsburgh Steelers must not only get to the Super Bowl; they must win it.

Their 2016 squad jumped a bit higher than the one that preceded it. Doesn't change the fact that nearly a decade has passed since one of the NFL's most storied franchises has accomplished its goal.

Which is not to suggest their 2016 season was a complete waste. For a third consecutive year, the Steelers advanced beyond the point at which their previous season ended. The 2013 Steelers missed the playoffs. The 2014 won the AFC North but lost a wild-card game at home. Last season's Steelers finished second and earned the conference's final wild-card slot, won a playoff game and ultimately bowed to the Super Bowl champions in Round 2.

These Steelers returned to the top of the their division. They won a home wild-card game and a Round-2 road contest in the postseason. Along the way, younger players were worked in on defense and the offense continued to flash signs of being football's most dangerous.

Oh, and there was that nine-game winning streak.

Translation: much good was accomplished by the 2016 Steelers. But don't take our word for it. Have a look for yourself.

Game 1: Steelers 38, Redskins 16

Game 2: Steelers 24, Bengals 16

Game 3: Eagles 34, Steelers 3

Game 4: Steelers 43, Chiefs 14

Game 5: Steelers 31, Jets 13

Game 6: Dolphins 30, Steelers 15

Game 7: Patriots 27, Steelers 16

Game 8: Ravens 21, Steelers 14

Game 9: Cowboys 34, Steelers 30

Game 10: Steelers 24, Browns 9

Game 11: Steelers 28, Colts 7

Game 12: Steelers 24, Giants 14

Game 13: Steelers 27, Bills 20

Game 14: Steelers 24, Bengals 20

Game 15: Steelers 31, Ravens 27

Game 16: Steelers 27, Browns 24 (OT)

AFC playoffs (wild-card round): Steelers 30, Dolphins 12

AFC playoffs (divisonal round): Steelers 18, Chiefs 16

AFC playoffs (championship): Patriots 36, Steelers 17

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😢 It's all over: Patriots 36, Steelers 17

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