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83-Steelers-43 10-15-2007 02:32 PM

Steelers return to tough stretch that doesn't look so difficult
 
Steelers return to tough stretch that doesn't look so difficult
By The Associated Press
Monday, October 15, 2007

When they were handed their 2007 schedule last spring, the Pittsburgh Steelers must have thought this would be their toughest stretch all season.

It includes consecutive games at Denver and Cincinnati, teams they beat on the road during their Super Bowl run two seasons ago; a Monday night home game against last year's AFC North champion, Baltimore, which defeated them easily twice last season; then, a quick turnaround for Cleveland at home, followed by the Jets in their third road game in five weeks.

What the Steelers couldn't have imagined a few months ago was that only one of the five opponents - the Ravens (4-2) - would have a winning record six weeks into the season. Or that the Steelers (4-1), except for a glitch at Arizona, couldn't have handled the transition from former coach Bill Cowher to new coach Mike Tomlin much more smoothly or successfully.

The Broncos (2-3), Bengals (1-4), Browns (3-3) and Jets (1-5) are off to slow starts that may make the Steelers wary, but probably won't prevent them from being favored to beat all four. No team the Steelers have beaten currently has a winning record, and they can't play a team with one until Nov. 5 against Baltimore.

It's not easy to figure out why the Steelers have been so successful. As usual with the Steelers, no matter the coach or the season, it all begins with a running game that averages 167 yards per game and is second in the NFL.

Willie Parker is averaging 101.4 yards despite running behind an offensive line that has two new starters in center Sean Mahan and right tackle Willie Colon.

"It all starts with the running backs," Parker said. "If we have a good game, the whole team has a good game. So we're like the center of attention with this team."

The Steelers are 16-1 when Parker runs for 100 yards or more. This season, they have won by at least a 21-point margin all four games in which Parker has gone over 1 00.

"It's not a coincidence - pretty much, since I have been here, if we rush for 100 yards, we win the game and most of the time we win it big," Parker said. "We want to stick with the run and just make plays in the running game and the passing game. But it opens up everything when you can run the ball."

The Steelers, despite being without longtime star Joey Porter, are playing better than could have been imagined defensively, too. They have yet to give up a touchdown in the first half, yielding only a combined six points to five opponents, and have allowed only 47 points overall.

They haven't permitted so few points through five games in 70 years, or since their 1937 team gave up only 38 during a lower-scoring era than today.

"I just think they're coming out of the locker room ready to play football," Tomlin said. "That's a good thing. Sometimes teams warm up and find rhythm, especially defensively, and we're coming out the locker room ready to play ."

Scoring points early has been a problem for the Broncos, whom the Steelers meet on Sunday night. Denver has scored multiple touchdowns in the first half only once, while beating the Raiders 23-20 in their second game, and they were limited to a field goal in the first half of their last game, a 41-3 loss at home to San Diego on Oct. 7.

"Denver is a tough place to play - tough team, good defense," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "So it is going to be a challenge for us. We know we have a tough stretch and it all starts with Denver, that's our first stop."

Notes: This will be the first Steelers-Broncos game in Denver since Pittsburgh's 34-17 win in the AFC championship game in January 2006. Denver won in Pittsburgh last season, 31-20. ... The Broncos also had their bye last weekend. ... Some Steelers defensive players visited Porter, who is now with the Dolphins, in Miami late last week after Tomlin gave them four days off instead of the scheduled three. The Steelers returned to practice Monday but will be off, as usual, on Tuesday.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_532779.html

verks36 10-15-2007 02:57 PM

Re: Steelers return to tough stretch that doesn't look so difficult
 
the wierd thing is i think the clevland game is going to be the toughest of the stretch...Which is kind of wierd considering ho bad we beat them earlier in the season

jjpro11 10-15-2007 03:42 PM

Re: Steelers return to tough stretch that doesn't look so difficult
 
we just need to replace indy with the cleveland game and we would be reliving our playoff run all over again.

Preacher 10-15-2007 03:45 PM

Re: Steelers return to tough stretch that doesn't look so difficult
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by verks36 (Post 308325)
the wierd thing is i think the clevland game is going to be the toughest of the stretch...Which is kind of wierd considering ho bad we beat them earlier in the season

True... but this is a different Cleveland team. Sure, it is the same players except for the QB... but the team we are coming in to play now has confidence... and think they can win almost any game.

This will be a whole different ball game!!

rbryan 10-15-2007 03:56 PM

Re: Steelers return to tough stretch that doesn't look so difficult
 
I hate to see an article like this. Lets hope the players aren't reading the paper. Its human nature to read a story like this and want to believe it. Next thing you know the team is 5-5. Still a long way to go.

Preacher 10-15-2007 04:04 PM

Re: Steelers return to tough stretch that doesn't look so difficult
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rbryan (Post 308338)
I hate to see an article like this. Lets hope the players aren't reading the paper. Its human nature to read a story like this and want to believe it. Next thing you know the team is 5-5. Still a long way to go.

A little bit of belief in one's self is a good thing to have.

Edman 10-15-2007 04:08 PM

Re: Steelers return to tough stretch that doesn't look so difficult
 
Articles like this blow. I don't want the Steelers to lose their focus.

The Rats always play them tough, and you never which Steeler team will show up against Cincy(The dominant one or the turnover machine). The Browns are vastly improved and are playing with a lot of confidence. No, not an easy stretch by any means.

verks36 10-15-2007 04:10 PM

Re: Steelers return to tough stretch that doesn't look so difficult
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Preacher (Post 308336)
True... but this is a different Cleveland team. Sure, it is the same players except for the QB... but the team we are coming in to play now has confidence... and think they can win almost any game.

This will be a whole different ball game!!

Ya i know what you mean watching the browns play recently it looks like the are playing with a chip on their shoulder. They play with some fearless type swagger which could be dangerous for us

but there D is still just terrible and i think are O will put up some huge points and there is no way Anderson is going to do that well against are D espically if Jamal Lewis is not 100% by then

revefsreleets 10-15-2007 04:21 PM

Re: Steelers return to tough stretch that doesn't look so difficult
 
I don't think Tomlin will have the slightest problem motivating the team to play the Ravens and Bengals. Just play the tapes of last year and they'll be fired up. I know I would be, and I wasn't even on the field!

HometownGal 10-15-2007 05:11 PM

Re: Steelers return to tough stretch that doesn't look so difficult
 
As I've always maintained, I take NO team lightly, no matter what their record is. However, I do believe 100% in this team and Coach Tomlin and as long as they continue to believe in themselves and in each other as contenders, the rest will take care of itself. :thumbsup::tt02:


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