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alittlejazzbird
09-25-2007, 01:04 PM
Time to Acknowledge That Steelers Are Back
By Tony Moss, NFL Editor

Run the football. Play great defense. Win.

Three tenets that have long been synonymous with the Pittsburgh Steelers, or more accurately, the Pittsburgh Steelers when the Pittsburgh Steelers have been good.

And this year's edition of the black and gold, which moved to 3-0 with a 37-16 cold-****ing of the previously unbeaten San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, are clearly very good.

So good that they've now humbled the first three opponents of the Mike Tomlin era by a composite score of 97-26, which no matter the collection of foes, you don't do in today's NFL without being strong to your core.

A run game? For all the talk of Ben Roethlisberger and his renaissance, it is the ground attack that has carried Pittsburgh offensively. The Steelers are No. 1 in the league in rushing offense (198.3 yards per game) as Week 3 begins, and are almost 25 yards per game better than any other NFL team in that category.

A defense? The Steelers have surrendered just 26 points through three games, nine games better than anyone else in the NFL, including those media-lauded New England Patriots.

The critics will argue, and rightfully so, that the Steelers' toughest tests are ahead. A Dec. 9 matchup in New England looms on the horizon, as do two games each with the last two champions of the AFC North, the Ravens and Bengals.

But let's get real about this. No one is questioning the staying power of the Patriots, but at this stage, Baltimore and Cincinnati are not in Pittsburgh's class and are unlikely to get there any time soon.

The Ravens (2-1) have already suffered several key injuries, and are simultaneously aging quickly and getting younger at key positions at the wrong time. Baltimore has struggled to win home games against the deficient Jets and Cardinals over the past two weeks, and turned the ball over six times in an opening-night loss to Cincinnati. Something's missing.

The Bengals (1-2), meanwhile, look like a disaster. The defense is atrocious, the offense has a terrific quarterback and some receivers but lacks the firepower to go on a serious run.

Which leaves us with Pittsburgh, which has showed precious few flaws in September and looks very scary, very real, after one uncharacteristic weak season. Tomlin is obviously trying to ensure that this team doesn't look too far ahead, but excitement is building around one of the league's great franchises.

"We talk a lot about how it's not the destination, it's the journey," said Tomlin after the win over San Francisco. "We have to appreciate the now and be who we are...This team is doing a nice job of living in the present. When you do that, you prepare, you have good men, you're capable of doing what they did today. If we continue to do that we'll continue to grow, because we are in the process of growing."

Yes, growing. Into a real contender.

THE WILL TO RUN

Of the six running backs named to the Pro Bowl this past February, you will find exactly one - Willie Parker - achieving anything close to his heroic pace of last season.

Parker's AFC cohorts, LaDainian Tomlinson (57 carries, 130 yards) and Larry Johnson (50 carries, 140 yards), have struggled mightily for disappointing teams. On the NFC side of the aisle, Frank Gore (52 carries, 175 yards) is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry after going for 5.4 a tote in 2006, Steven Jackson (69 carries, 233 yards) has frustrated fantasy managers everywhere by not scoring a touchdown through three games for winless St. Louis, and Tiki Barber is retired.

That leaves Parker, who leads the NFL with 368 yards, has six 100-yard games in his last seven appearances dating back to last season, and is averaging an impressive five yards per rush all while remaining somewhat anonymous in NFL circles.

If he keeps up his current pace, the North Carolina product won't blend into the woodwork for long. Parker is on target for 1,963 yards, which would shatter the team record of 1,690, set by Barry Foster in 1992.

THE LAST TIME...

It has been widely reported that the Steelers are 3-0 for the first time since 1992, when then-first-year head coach Bill Cowher led Pittsburgh to an 11-5 finish and a spot in the playoffs. But you have to go back much further to find the 4-0 start that Tomlin and company will be trying to match on Sunday in Arizona.

It was 1979 when the Steelers last led with four victories, and it is a testament to how long ago 1979 was that three of those four teams no longer reside in the same city. Pittsburgh opened with a 16-13 win in New England before taking down the Houston Oilers (38-7), St. Louis Cardinals (24-21), and Baltimore Colts (17-13), eventually finishing 12-4 and beating the Rams for the last of their four Super Bowl crowns in the 70's.

Looking ahead a bit, the Steelers' last 5-0 start came in 1978, when they opened with seven straight wins en route to a 14-2 finish and Super Bowl win over the Cowboys.

NEXT UP: FAMILIAR FACES

It shouldn't be difficult to stoke passions on either sideline this Sunday, as the Steelers face former assistants Ken Whisenhunt, Russ Grimm, and the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Whisenhunt and Grimm were both passed over for the head coaching position when it went to Tomlin in the offseason, and the duo would become Arizona's new head coach and assistant head coach/offensive line, respectively. Two more Cardinal aides, special teams coach Kevin Spencer and defensive assistant Matt Raich, were employed by Pittsburgh last season.

The Cardinals, who are 1-2 following losses to the 49ers and Ravens and a win over the Seahawks, also have five active players who could recently call themselves Steelers. Defensive end Rodney Bailey, tight end Tim Euhus, punter Mike Barr, wideout/special teams ace Sean Morey, and center Chukky Okobi all wore a Pittsburgh uniform at some point during the 2006 season, and all but Barr were on the active roster for at least a period of last year.

The Steelers lead the all-time series with the Cardinals, which dates back to the 1933 season, by a 31-22-3 count. Pittsburgh has won the last two meetings, defeating Arizona by a 28-15 count at Heinz Field in 2003 and taking a 26-20 overtime decision at Sun Devil Stadium in 1997. The Cardinals' last win over the Steelers came in 1994, a 20-17 overtime triumph at home.

http://www.sportsnetwork.com/default.asp?c=sportsnetwork&page=/nfl/news/ABN4104338.htm

Dragonrider
09-25-2007, 03:38 PM
only one word to say, AMEN!

rog
09-25-2007, 03:41 PM
I knew that and I didn't even have to read that article.

The Duke
09-25-2007, 04:11 PM
The media loves us!! :blah:

Willie is really leaving all other runningbacks in shame. On pace for 2000 yards, very possible up to now

steelersfanmx
09-25-2007, 04:20 PM
Steelers no more under the radar!...:tt02:

klick81
09-25-2007, 04:33 PM
Steelers no more under the radar!...:tt02:

I kind of like the Steelers under the radar :smile:

Borski
09-25-2007, 04:33 PM
The media is blowing our cover, crap!

Dino 6 Rings
09-25-2007, 04:47 PM
one guy recognizes our Greatness as the Steeler Nation once agains rises from the ashes of a bitter season withour towels and our hearts and our pride...but it will be hum drum once more after this weekend when the Pats once again destroy someone, this week the pathetic bengals and are crowned the AFC's best, with the Colts right behind them and we are once again designated the 3rd best team in the AFC...and that's ok...that's fine...we'll beat Arizona, and wait. and watch film, and practice and wait some more...and then...when they look up at the scoreboard in the playoff game and realize they just lost to the Steelers 31 - 13 and "didn't see it coming" we can email them this september article and say..."WE DID"

Atlanta Dan
09-25-2007, 08:37 PM
This from Gregg Easterbrook's Tuesday Morning QB

Stat of the Week No. 1: Stretching back to last season, Pittsburgh has won nine of its past 11.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=easterbrook/070925&sportCat=nfl&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab1pos1

Hopefully the sudden media popularity is not setting up for a fall in Arizona,

On an unrelated note, read Easterbrook's blast of the NFL that opens the column for sweeping Belicheat's other potential misconduct under the rug - if any Pats apologist says this was just limited to the Jets game, tell them to check out the league office's position on what the discipline was for.

FastWillieParker39
09-25-2007, 09:00 PM
I think some of these sports writers and even us Steeler fans are overhyping our team. Sure this team has looked DAMN GOOD but against who really? The Browns...pshh, Bills....they're no good, the 9ers....only offensive weapon is Gore.

We should make the playoffs this year and really thats all I want. Just to atleast make the playoffs with a first year coach.

Atlanta Dan
09-25-2007, 09:11 PM
I think some of these sports writers and even us Steeler fans are overhyping our team. Sure this team has looked DAMN GOOD but against who really? The Browns...pshh, Bills....they're no good, the 9ers....only offensive weapon is Gore.

We should make the playoffs this year and really thats all I want. Just to atleast make the playoffs with a first year coach.

Not everyone is on board yet - this from Don Banks at SI.com

Not all 3-0s are created equal. The resurgent Steelers might wind up being one of the success stories of the year in the NFL, but through no fault of their own, we really don't know enough about Mike Tomlin's guys to christen them an elite team. Pittsburgh has won convincingly three weeks in a row, but those victories came against the Charlie Frye-led Browns, the injury-decimated Bills and the offensively-challenged 49ers.

In Weeks 7-8-9, the Steelers will show us what they've got, when they draw at Denver, at Cincinnati and home against Baltimore. Our hunch is the Steelers are for real. But you can't put them in the same class as the Patriots or Colts based on three wins against teams that had losing records last season.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/don_banks/09/25/snap.judgments/1.html

Counselor
09-26-2007, 08:26 AM
Not everyone is on board yet - this from Don Banks at SI.com

Not all 3-0s are created equal. The resurgent Steelers might wind up being one of the success stories of the year in the NFL, but through no fault of their own, we really don't know enough about Mike Tomlin's guys to christen them an elite team. Pittsburgh has won convincingly three weeks in a row, but those victories came against the Charlie Frye-led Browns, the injury-decimated Bills and the offensively-challenged 49ers.

In Weeks 7-8-9, the Steelers will show us what they've got, when they draw at Denver, at Cincinnati and home against Baltimore. Our hunch is the Steelers are for real. But you can't put them in the same class as the Patriots or Colts based on three wins against teams that had losing records last season.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/don_banks/09/25/snap.judgments/1.html


I saw that---Banks said we can't yet be placed in the same sphere as the Pats and Cotls, but who the heck have the Pats played? The "injury decimated" Bills (same as us), the Jets and the Chargers---neither of whom look anything close to where they were last year.

And the Colts beat up a sorry Saints team and won close ones against Tennessee and Houston (improving teams, but not 2006 playoff teams).

I'm not saying he's wrong that we still have a lot to prove, but at least be honest about the Colts and Pats too.

DACEB
09-26-2007, 09:23 AM
Great points Counselor.

In my opinion the Pats haven't been really challenged either. The Jets haven't been able to put any pressure at all on opposing QBs and their offense is limited with Pennington. We both tore the Bills apart and the Chargers are looking alot like we did last year. The Chargers played horrible defensively against the Pats and their offense looks nothing like they did last year.

It's true that the real tests are yet to come, but the Steelers have played at a very high level thus far. The mental mistakes are at a minimum and the physical play has been outstanding. The Steelers have been playing well in all phases of the game and yet it appears have not hit on all cylinders yet. This team has the potential to be a superbowl caliber team, that is if they continue to improve to that potential. The way they have been going, they consistently look well prepared and confident, this is very possible.

It's still early and it is a long season. We still don't know how Tomlin will handle adversity in certain situations, but if how he has handled things thus far is any indication he will be just fine. Under Cohwer we historicaly started a little slow and ended strong. This could be a point of concern, will we finish strong under Tomlin? I have to say that I like how he has rotated different players to keep guys fresh. I like how when the game is in hand he has brought the back-ups in, getting them valuable gametime experience.

I believe we have a very talented core of players and the sky is the limit.

rog
09-26-2007, 09:45 AM
Great points Counselor.

In my opinion the Pats haven't been really challenged either. The Jets haven't been able to put any pressure at all on opposing QBs and their offense is limited with Pennington. We both tore the Bills apart and the Chargers are looking alot like we did last year. The Chargers played horrible defensively against the Pats and their offense looks nothing like they did last year.

It's true that the real tests are yet to come, but the Steelers have played at a very high level thus far. The mental mistakes are at a minimum and the physical play has been outstanding. The Steelers have been playing well in all phases of the game and yet it appears have not hit on all cylinders yet. This team has the potential to be a superbowl caliber team, that is if they continue to improve to that potential. The way they have been going, they consistently look well prepared and confident, this is very possible.

It's still early and it is a long season. We still don't know how Tomlin will handle adversity in certain situations, but if how he has handled things thus far is any indication he will be just fine. Under Cohwer we historicaly started a little slow and ended strong. This could be a point of concern, will we finish strong under Tomlin? I have to say that I like how he has rotated different players to keep guys fresh. I like how when the game is in hand he has brought the back-ups in, getting them valuable gametime experience.

I believe we have a very talented core of players and the sky is the limit.



Great post I couldn't agree with you more on this one.