View Full Version : Tomlin undaunted by Steelers' stuggles

12-02-2009, 06:03 AM
View From The Press Box

Tomlin undaunted by Steelers' stuggles
December 1st, 2009

His most indispensable defensive player, Troy Polamalu, will almost surely miss another game because of a knee injury. His quarterback’s recurring headaches last week caused him a major headache when Hines Ward questioned whether Ben Roethlisberger should have sat out the Steelers’ 20-17 overtime loss in Baltimore last Sunday.

Mike Tomlin is in the midst of his most dicey stretch as a head coach since taking over the Steelers in January of 2007. Yet, you couldn’t help wondering if this man knows something we don’t as he conducted his weekly news conference today at the Steelers’ practice facility.

Tomlin was upbeat and anything but defensive as he talked about what the Steelers need to snap a three-game losing streak and fielded questions about a possible divide in the team locker room.

He could have been putting on a good front as the Steelers stagger into December. Or maybe he senses that the Steelers are poised to embark on a run similar to the one they made in 2005 when they won their last four regular-season games and then beat four more teams on the way to a Super Bowl title.

He said after the loss in Baltimore that he didn’t want to hear anything about a moral victory, but Tomlin had to be optimistic about what he saw from his team in M&T Bank Stadium.

The Steelers had a lead with under seven minutes left in the fourth quarter despite playing with third-stringer Dennis Dixon at quarterback. And they would have beaten the Ravens if their defense hadn’t coughed up another late lead after playing well for most of the game.

The game, despite the loss, and the rest of the schedule bode well for “unleash(ing) hell” as Tomlin said the Steelers would do in December.

They can build on the defense forcing turnovers at critical junctures and a running attack that kept them in the game even though the Ravens dared Dixon to beat them with his arm.

Then there is the schedule.

Both teams that have a winning record (Packer and Ravens) among the Steelers' five remaining opponents have to come to Heinz Field. Also on the slate are games against the Raiders and Browns, who have four wins between them, as well as the Dolphins.

Miami has a strong rushing attack but if there is one thing the Steelers' defense has done with consistency this season — aside from giving up long scoring drives in the fourth quarter — it is snuff out opposing ground games.

“I don’t think there’s anybody on their schedule that you look at and say they can’t beat,” former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis said. “They’ve just got to focus and concentrate and take it one game at a time.”

Bettis said the Steelers did just that in 2005 when they were 7-5 in early December and then reeled off eight consecutive victories.

He has since retired but 12 starters on this team as well as kicker Jeff Reed were on the 2005 edition of the Steelers.

And Tomlin can at least count on one thing: the reigning Super Bowl champions won’t easily relinquish their throne.

“I’ve got a great deal of respect for this group,” Tomlin said. “I like the way they fight. I know they won’t blink. I know they won’t let go of the rope. I know that how we got to 6-5 won’t kill our spirits.”

12-02-2009, 07:22 AM
Winning cures all!

Let's start there and then move forward one game at a time.

This week it's the raiders!