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lamberts-lost-tooth
10-15-2006, 04:26 AM
Steelers, Chiefs both banged up


By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, October 15, 2006


In addition to being behind the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North Division, the Steelers are behind schedule.
They're 1-3 after four decisions in defense of their Super Bowl championship.

And there's only so much ground they can make up this afternoon at Heinz Field against Kansas City.

"We can only win one game a week," free safety Ryan Clark said. "That's the goal as a team right now, to get better every week and come out and get some W's.

"We win (this) week, we'll be 2-3, and we'll go from there."

Although that sounds simple enough in theory, the Steelers will have to go in a different direction.

First-year pro Arnold Harrison will make his first NFL start in his fifth NFL game today when he replaces Joey Porter (hamstring) at right outside linebacker.

Bryant McFadden is likely to make his first NFL start in his second NFL season in place of Deshea Townsend (hamstring), who may or may not be able to contribute in some capacity.

Linebacker Chad Brown, signed off the NFL street Thursday, may well see action in his first game for the Steelers since 1996.

And then there's the matter of strong safety Troy Polamalu's shoulder, wide receiver Hines Ward's hamstring, defensive end Brett Keisel's kidney ...

"We don't make excuses with this group," defensive backs coach Darren Perry said. "They know this is how the league is. You're out on that field, nobody wants to hear about a sore shoulder or a sore knee or a sore whatever."

The Chiefs (2-2) particularly aren't interested.

They've been without their starting quarterback, Trent Green, since he sustained a concussion in the opener against Cincinnati.

Kansas City had already been trying to deal with the surprise retirement of left offensive tackle Willie Roaf, an 11-time Pro Bowler, at the time, a departure so sudden Roaf's bio was included in the Kansas City media guide.

So both teams will have their problems to overcome this afternoon.

Steelers head coach Bill Cowher has advised his players not to dwell on what's gotten them into their 1-3 predicament, but All-Pro guard Alan Faneca suggested long memories might aid the Steelers along the long road back to .500 and beyond, at least initially.

"I think you have to remember," he said. "You have to know where you're been and where you want to go.

"We can't keep doing the same things we've been doing to get a 1-3 record. You have to change things. You have to work better and smarter, or work more. Whatever it is for each one of us, I think you have to take that frustration and roll it over into something good."

The Steelers, mired in a three-game losing streak, haven't lost four in a row since 2003, when they dropped five consecutive games following a 2-1 start along the way to a 6-10 record.

That was their most recent losing season.

Linebacker Clark Haggans understands what's needed for the Steelers to prevent this one from degenerating in a similar fashion.

"Victories," he said, "us playing Steeler football."