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83-Steelers-43
12-12-2006, 11:57 AM
Despite late run, Steelers might fall short of playoffs

By The Associated Press
Tuesday, December 12, 2006


The Pittsburgh Steelers' resurgence is probably too late to get the defending Super Bowl champions into the playoffs.

After struggling early in the season, the Steelers are now 6-7 and have an outside shot at the playoffs. A 4-1 run after a 2-6 start has helped the Steelers avoid a potentially embarrassing record following their championship season, but the playoffs may be out of reach.

"We're playing better, no question about it," coach Bill Cowher said at his weekly press conference Monday, four days after the Steelers dominated the Cleveland Browns 27-7. "I like the way we're playing."

Cowher pointed to improved play on special teams and a drastic cut in turnovers. He praised his team for staying focused when it easily could have folded after the first eight contests ? or even after a 27-0 loss to rival Baltimore two weeks ago that was thought to all but eliminate Pittsburgh from the playoffs.

But the Steelers responded with two dominating performances, outscoring Tampa Bay and Cleveland 47-10 the last two weeks.

"We have high expectations, and certainly there's a lot frustration that this year has brought," Cowher said. "People have to understand this is our livelihood, and no one is more frustrated when it doesn't unfold the way you want it to than the players and coaches because we throw everything into it.

"It's about how you deal with adversity, how you deal with the tough times. Our guys have done a good job focusing on the next game and not the ramifications (of playoff possibilities)."

The Steelers are still mathematically alive for the playoffs ? but the chances are slim.

Jacksonville and Cincinnati ? two teams that beat Pittsburgh ? are at 8-5 and in a position for the two wild-card berths. Denver, Kansas City and the New York Jets are 7-6. Buffalo and Miami are tied with the Steelers at 6-7.

Pittsburgh will have to win out and hope for lots of help.

"We've still got an opportunity in front of us, right now, that obviously we will need help, but we've got to take care of business and those other things will take care of themselves," Cowher said.

Notes: Bill Cowher said quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple will finish out the season with the team, even if he is hired by Boston College to be its head coach. Whipple, who formerly coached at the University of Massachusetts, met with B.C. officials Sunday and is considered the front-runner for the position. "He's a quality person and a good football coach who would be a great asset to any school," Cowher said. ... WR Hines Ward was listed as questionable after missing the last two games with a knee injury. ... Pro Bowl SS Troy Polamalu will probably not play Sunday due to a knee injury that caused him to miss the last two contests. He is listed as doubtful. ... WR Cedrick Wilson (high ankle sprain) is also doubtful. ... Cowher said all the players on the injury report this week are subject to change because of the long layoff and because he has not seen or spoken to any player since after the win on Thursday. ... The Steelers will practice Tuesday, the team's first practice in six days. "It was a good, much-needed time off after they did a great job last week," Cowher said.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_483727.html

Atlanta Dan
12-12-2006, 12:49 PM
I believe the point is a 4-1 or for that matter a 5-0 run was too little/too late because of the 1-6 (that record is as ugly to read as it was to watch) tumble earlier this year.

Winning the last 2 games has been nice, but in hindsight the only win in this 4-1 stretch that was against a quality team was the Saints victory. These last 3 games may moot out any claim that the Steelers "just missed" the playoffs. Getting to 8-8 will not be easy.

tony hipchest
12-12-2006, 01:04 PM
I believe the point is a 4-1 or for that matter a 5-0 run was too little/too late because of the 1-6 (that record is as ugly to read as it was to watch) tumble earlier this year.

Winning the last 2 games has been nice, but in hindsight the only win in this 4-1 stretch that was against a quality team was the Saints victory. These last 3 games may moot out any claim that the Steelers "just missed" the playoffs. Getting to 8-8 will not be easy.the losses that leave the most sour taste for me is against the bungles and falcons, cause offensively we hit our stride and were moving the ball at will, like against the cheifs. to have 7 turnovers and still be a n. washington drop/ false start away from a potential win is pretty sickenning. not to say the oakland, denver, sd meltdowns were any better though.

plenewken
12-12-2006, 01:11 PM
What late run? 2 wins in a row against 2 bottom feeders (Tampa Bay and Cleveland) after being shut out in Baltimore? Let's be serious.

Haiku_Dirtt
12-12-2006, 01:42 PM
The only math that will make any difference is the draft board order.

But that being said do the Colts lose four in a row? If not that gives the Steelers the 'priviledge' of knocking the Bengals out of the playoffs. And how sweet would that be.

I know it's sacreligious to intentionally lose games in order to move up the draft board but winning the next three in a row qualifies only in vanity points. But that being said we don't want to follow up a Super Bowl with anything less than .500.

sumo
12-12-2006, 02:17 PM
the loss to the Raiders was when I threw in the towel as far as the post season goes - but who cares? - I still love watching the Steelers and the rest of the NFL games - we can't be a playoff/SB team every year...parity in the NFL is very real..

Preacher
12-12-2006, 02:44 PM
Too little, Too late probably...

But it sure does bode well for next year. Especially with they way our rookies are coming alive...

And I don't mind missing the playoffs once in a while. It gives the coaching staff and ownership time to do a little more trimming then usual.

Atlanta Dan
12-12-2006, 03:38 PM
the losses that leave the most sour taste for me is against the bungles and falcons, cause offensively we hit our stride and were moving the ball at will, like against the cheifs. to have 7 turnovers and still be a n. washington drop/ false start away from a potential win is pretty sickenning. not to say the oakland, denver, sd meltdowns were any better though.

T.H. - Ed B. of the P-G seems to agree in today's P-G online chat with your prior observation that the season turned with the Cincinnati game.

g: what was the turning point in the season? the colclough fumble? the atlanta game where nate flinched? the oakland game? the steelers should be 9-4 and vying for homefield. people from the outside look at them and say their a bad team, but they could easily be 9-4.

Ed Bouchette: Ben Roethlisberger throwing an interception in the end zone from the Bengals' 6 as the Steelers were trying to make it 14-0

Bouchette may be sarcastic here, but in hindsight I think he is right. Score there and I think they beat Cincy and get their swagger back after the Jax loss. Of course they lost and a pattern of giving away games took hold.

For those who are interested, Bouchette had some good takes today, including his latest view on Cowher either signing up long term or going after this season.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06346/745548-66.stm

tony hipchest
12-12-2006, 03:48 PM
T.H. - Ed B. of the P-G seems to agree in today's P-G online chat with your prior observation that the season turned with the Cincinnati game.

g: what was the turning point in the season? the colclough fumble? the atlanta game where nate flinched? the oakland game? the steelers should be 9-4 and vying for homefield. people from the outside look at them and say their a bad team, but they could easily be 9-4.

Ed Bouchette: Ben Roethlisberger throwing an interception in the end zone from the Bengals' 6 as the Steelers were trying to make it 14-0

Bouchette may be sarcastic here, but in hindsight I think he is right. Score there and I think they beat Cincy and get their swagger back after the Jax loss. Of course they lost and a pattern of giving away games took hold.

For those who are interested, Bouchette had some good takes today, including his latest view on Cowher either signing up long term or going after this season.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06346/745548-66.stmi said this was a must win game at the beginning of the year. we were at home. we were playing the division champs who beat us last year by a tie breaker. i equated this years game with the bengals, with last years game to the chargers. we snuck out of san diego with a win early in the season. if we dont win THAT early season game then san diego gets the 6th seed in the playoffs and our magical season never happens. in my opinion the significance of the bengals game this year was downplayed by the team cause "it was a long season", "still plenty of games left to be played" and all those cliches. in week 3 i had visions of being on the wrong side of a tiebreaker, or feeling what the chargers did last year. i wasnt naive enough to think the steelers would run away with the division like they did in 2004, and i definitely it would be a close race between about 10 teams to fill the 6 afc playoff spots. more proof that a game in week 3 is just as important as a game in week 14-16.

thanks for the link.

For those who are interested, Bouchette had some good takes today, including his latest view on Cowher either signing up long term or going after this season.
:chuckle: hey! youre being humble here!

fansince'76
12-12-2006, 04:13 PM
the losses that leave the most sour taste for me is against the bungles and falcons....

Yep, those were bad, but the loss to the Raiders was downright inexcusable.

slashsteel
12-12-2006, 04:14 PM
I think Ben just wasn't ready. Lot of what ifs, but we can't take away that fact. Next year we will rebound and be in the hunt for 6 one for our dix. :)

MJ5150
12-12-2006, 04:36 PM
Might fall short? Sh-yah right. They done fell short already.

I so wish we were going to the playoffs, but the AFC is too good this year. There is no room for us this go-around. I'm sad, believe me, I'm sad about that.

-Mike