A lot has changed since the last Saints-Steelers game

It’s only been four years since the New Orleans Saints last crossed paths with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it feels like a lifetime. Neither team resembles itself after stumbling out of the gate and into 6-loss starts to their season. The 2-6 Steelers and 3-6 Saints are just hoping to avoid a seventh result in the loss column here. It’s been quite a fall from grace; just look at when they last met late in the 2018 season, where it looked like a possible Super Bowl preview.

The 12-2 Saints were hosting the 8-5-1 Steelers, who had just taken down Tom Brady’s New England Patriots in a dramatic 17-10 win to cut off their 3-game losing streak. Pittsburgh had the playoffs in sight and seemed to be moving the ball at will with Ben Roethlisberger’s arm — he finished the season with 34 touchdown passes and 5,129 passing yards, thriving with wide receivers Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster at the height of their powers. Both receivers caught double-digit passes and gained 100-plus yards against the Saints in this game.

Roethlisberger probably gets into the Hall of Fame someday given his consistent above-average performances, and with his teams having won a pair of Super Bowls early in his career. Drew Brees, his opponent that Sunday afternoon, is a first-ballot lock after winning Super Bowl XLIV and owning every major passing record at some point in his career. He completed multiple passes to the likes of Keith Kirkwood and Josh Hill in this game, with Michael Thomas (109 receiving yards, 1 touchdown reception) and Alvin Kamara (97 scrimmage yards, 2 touchdown runs) doing their best to support him in the win.

Now look at them. The Saints made a quarterback change in the wake of Jameis Winston’s injury earlier this season, leaning on Andy Dalton and a carousel of wide receivers while their defense has struggled to find its footing. The Steelers were hopeful Mitchell Trubisky could bridge the gap post-Roethlisberger, but it took just a couple of weeks for Kenny Pickett to unseat him, even if he hasn’t looked any better after taking the wheel.

New Orleans owns the all-time record over the Steelers at 9-7, having won each of their last three meetings. They’re the only team that Mike Tomlin has never beaten as a head coach in the NFL. But that was with Sean Payton at the helm. Now that the Saints have hitched their fortunes to Dennis Allen, it’s possible Tomlin finally gets that win over the black and gold, though Allen beat Tomlin’s Steelers twice when he was coaching the then-Oakland Raiders. We’ll see if he can pull it off in front of an anxious crowd with their yellow towels overhead, spinning like a helicopter.

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Story originally appeared on Saints Wire