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mesaSteeler
09-26-2010, 11:44 PM
http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/sidelines/
NFL from the sidelines

After hobnobbing around the NFL in the press boxes and sidelines, sports reporter Dale Lolley will let you know the insider scoop.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Post-Tampa Bay thoughts

Am I vindicated now?

I pick the Steelers to win and cover and they do so with great ease.

Some felt this game could be a bit of a trap game, coming before a big showdown with the Ravens. But this is a highly motivated, highly focused team.

If anybody nearly got caught in a trap Sunday, it was the Ravens, who struggled to beat the Browns in a game sandwiched between meetings with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

It's still early, but the Steelers have the look of a team that wants to make its third Super Bowl trip in the past six years.

Injuries will play a big factor in that, but as the Steelers have already shown, they are not only talented, they're deep.

In fact, Mike Tomlin referenced the fact that every offensive lineman on the team's 53-man roster has already seen playing time this season. That can only help this team down the road.

Many people feel the Steelers, at 3-0, are playing with house money in regard to these first four games without Ben Roethlisberger.

But these guys honestly feel like they should win every game.

It's easy to second-guess Tomlin for his decision to start the season with Dennis Dixon at quarterback rather than Charlie Batch. But, in reality, he had painted himself into that corner.

Dixon had gotten way more work in the preseason and training camp than Batch. And then there was Batch's lengthy injury history, something Tomlin noted was part of his decision to start Dixon.

The bottom line is that the Steelers are 3-0. It hasn't always been pretty but it has been effective.

One of the key plays in Sunday's game is something that likely won't be mentioned in any of the game stories - including mine.

But, trailing 3-0, the Steelers went three-and-out on their second possession. Punting from his own 29, Daniel Sepulveda nailed a kick 62 yards with no return to the Tampa Bay 9, completely changing field position.

Tampa Bay then went three-and-out and punted from its own 15.

The Steelers took over from the Tampa Bay 45 and two plays later, Batch hit Mike Wallace on his first long touchdown pass.

Chris Hoke's sprained knee doesn't look bad, but it could be a big thing if he can't play against the Ravens in what will be a battle of the trenches.

Speaking of the trenches, the Steelers did not allow a sack Sunday.

The last time that happened was when the Steelers played at Baltimore last November, a game started by Dixon.