View Full Version : Steelers try to regroup after Baltimore letdown; surging Bengals loom

11-08-2011, 09:53 PM
Steelers try to regroup after Baltimore letdown; surging Bengals loom
By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, November 8, 5:42 PM

PITTSBURGH — For Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, the evidence still hurt.

Tomlin sat through all 13 plays of misery, watched every last second of tape of Baltimore’s game-winning drive in a 23-20 victory on Sunday night.

“To be quite frank with you, it stung as much yesterday as it did on Sunday night, as it should,” Tomlin said. “We lost a very tough, close ballgame, highly contested. ... Hopefully we will grow and learn from it. I know those will be our intentions. I truly believe that it will strengthen us moving forward.”

If the Steelers (6-3) want to stay in the playoff picture in the crowded AFC, they don’t really have a choice. A hangover of any kind could be costly, particularly on Sunday against surprising Cincinnati (6-2).

The Bengals have won five straight and typically play Pittsburgh tough no matter how their season is going.

“Really, when you think about it, the last couple of years, the ball has ended up in their hands inside the 10-yard line or so, to win it at the very end,” Tomlin said. “We were fortunate enough to make a play a year ago. We weren’t the year before that.”

The Steelers have been making very few game-changing plays on defense this year. Their four takeaways are tied with woeful Miami for last in the league.

Tomlin would rather his team play smart than take aggressive risks to get the ball and pointed to a pair of missed opportunities in Baltimore’s last drive as to how thin the difference is between getting a takeaway and getting burned.

“I thought we had them moving very early in the drive, in the pocket,” Tomlin said. “We had a swipe at the ball that we missed. We had a third-and-1. We had our hands on the football. We had a fourth-and-1 that the ball just reached the outstretched fingertips of a defensive lineman in the rush lane, and they completed it to Anquan Boldin. To make a long story short, they made all of the necessary plays and we missed a few of them by a hair.”

The defense played relatively well until the final drive. Linebacker James Harrison showed no ill effects of the fractured right orbital bone that kept him out a month, finishing with three sacks and a forced fumble.

Tomlin is hopeful Harrison can be joined on the field by longtime teammates LaMarr Woodley and James Farrior next week. Woodley missed the Baltimore game with a hamstring injury while Farrior sat for the second straight game with a calf problem.

Both players will be evaluated later in the week, though Tomlin was encouraged by replacement Jason Worilds.

“I liked the tempo in which he played with,” Tomlin said. “I thought he was physical. No question there is room for growth. But if you are just looking at his first substantial action as a defensive player, I thought it was a great place to begin.”

Linebacker isn’t the only position with injury problems. Emmanuel Sanders will be out “a couple weeks” after having his knee scoped while Jerricho Cotchery will be limited early in the week with swelling in his knee. Arnaz Battle is dealing with a strained hamstring.

Tomlin expects to have veteran Hines Ward available. Ward left the Baltimore game in the second quarter with concussion-like symptoms following a head shot from Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.

“It shouldn’t prohibit him or slow him down in any form or fashion here,” Tomlin said.

If Cotchery, Sanders and Ward can’t go it’s likely the team would activate Tyler Grisham from the practice squad.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribute

11-08-2011, 11:24 PM
Are you kidding me, now it's possible that we will have 4 receivers on the bench? How ridiculous, I know it's not likely, but the fact that it's even possible is irritating.