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11-05-2006, 12:20 AM
Prisuta: No looking ahead

By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, November 5, 2006


Steelers coach Bill Cowher didn't need to wipe the slate clean to convince free safety Ryan Clark to focus only on today's game against the Broncos.
Nor does Clark require any additional convincing to keep believing that the Steelers have something to play for against Denver beyond improving upon their 2-5 record.

"I don't even look at the schedule," Clark said. "I don't look at the records, none of that. You play every play. You play to win the game, and you never quit. This is our job. We get paid to do this thing. That's why we're so emotional, and that's why were out there kinda getting in trouble sometimes with penalties and stuff, because we want to win.

"I don't have to talk myself into anything. It's about pride. It's about going out and just wining one game."

Just to be on the safe side, Cowher wiped the grease board in the team meeting room clean, to a degree, last Thursday.

The remainder of the schedule is no longer mentioned.

The message is that the Steelers' focus should include Denver and only Denver.

It has been well received in a locker room locking for something to cling to as the Steelers attempt to avoid falling out of the playoff chase completely after finding themselves three games behind the AFC North Division-leading Baltimore Ravens with nine to play.

"I don't look at the big picture," wide receiver Hines Ward insisted. "I just want to win. The thing is to beat the Denver Broncos, and that's all that matters to us.

"Throw out whoever's in the lead or what not; we just have to beat the Denver Broncos."

The Broncos will also hit Heinz Field determined to focus more on winning the game than the Steelers' record.

"Even though the Steelers are 2-5, they're not a 2-5 football team," Denver head coach Mike Shanahan said. "Anybody that watches film knows that.

"They're the Super Bowl champs."

As if to dispute the notion that he might just be blowing smoke toward an upcoming opponent, Shanahan cited the Steelers' status as a top-10 offense and a top-10 defense for emphasis.

The Steelers rank 10th overall in total offense and sixth in the NFL in total defense.

Only Dallas (No. 5 on offense, No. 4 on defense) and San Diego (No. 3 and No. 2) can also make that claim.

Of course, the Steelers are also a top-26 team in takeaway/giveaway differential, ranking tied for 26th league wide in that often critical statistic at a frustrating minus-5.

"You look at our losses," Ward said. "That's the reason we lost those games," Ward said.

That's put the Steelers in a precarious position as they brace for what they're interpreting as a one-game season against the Broncos.

"We're definitely playing desperate right now,' linebacker Larry Foote said.

They're also playing them one game at a time, perhaps more than ever before.

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