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Old 12-17-2006, 05:17 AM   #1
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Default Steelers face possible elimination

By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, December 17, 2006


What might have initially been perceived as a potential Super Bowl preview when the NFL schedule was released could instead signal the end of the Steelers' title defense.
They will remain alive in the hunt for an AFC wild card-invitation to the playoffs only if they beat the Carolina Panthers today and only if Jacksonville and/or Cincinnati lose this weekend.

If the Jaguars win today in Tennessee and the Bengals prevail on Monday night in Indianapolis, the Steelers are finished as a potential qualifier for the NFL's postseason.

That's not a position the Steelers expected to find themselves in heading into the stretch run in December.

Then again, no one was anticipating their current record of 6-7.

"We let ourselves slip into that position," defensive end Brett Keisel said.

For a team that had to win its last four regular-season games to reach the playoffs a year ago, and for one that fell to 4-7 this season after enduring a 27-0 beating Nov. 26 in Baltimore, such a predicament is at least a familiar one.

"We've been up against it for the last four or five weeks," tight end Jerame Tuman said.

They wouldn't have been, if only.

"Oakland, Atlanta, Jacksonville, all those games I felt like we should have won," Keisel said.

Tuman's appraisal differed only slightly.

"It all went back to turnovers and not being consistent," he said. "When we've lost a game we gave it away on most occasions. There are a couple of games you could say we were whipped, but we've given most of our losses away.

"We didn't really do anything to win the game in Jacksonville (a 9-0 loss Sept. 18)."

Baltimore was also an exception.

Since then, the Steelers have rediscovered the formula that worked for them a year ago, from the defense to the special teams to an offense that has stopped turning the ball over.

The Steelers dominated in all three phases in their 27-7 victory over the Browns on Dec. 7.

It was their fourth win in five games and, to Tuman, at least, it was an indication that this year's Steelers haven't forgotten how to play Steelers football after all.

"That Cleveland game really felt like it," Tuman said. "That's how we've won in the past."

Now they take on a 6-7 Carolina team that has to be just as frustrated as the Steelers are if not more so.

The Steelers will also have to keep an eye on the scoreboard.

"We need all the help we can get," cornerback Deshea Townsend said.

Games this weekend between Buffalo and Miami, Jets and Minnesota, Denver and Arizona, and Kansas City and San Diego may also ultimately help dictate the Steelers' postseason fate.

But any help they might receive would be meaningless in the event they don't take care of business the rest of the way.

"Until they tell us we're out, we're going to go out there and play," linebacker Joey Porter said. "Our focus right now is just to finish up at 9-7."

Keisel is at least keeping the faith, to the extent that he not only believes the Colts can beat the Bengals on Monday, he's convinced "they will beat 'em."

The same goes for the Titans handling the Jaguars.

"Yeah, they will," Keisel said. "Stranger things have happened."
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Old 12-17-2006, 06:43 AM   #2
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It would have been nice to have won those Oaklands' games and the others that they metioned but we didnt and I think that our team will/have learned from the mistakes that we made in those games. I know that finally Ben is starting to see the field alot better and making better decisions most of the time. I think that it has taken him this long to get his strength back and health also. he had a very bad offseason dont forget that. He had to have time to get over the things that happened and during the regular season is not easy to do. I think that O Line has got to have some reshaping in the upcoming offseason, they neeed help on the whole Right Side of the line and it is time for Hartings to move on. We are paying Chuki Okobi way too much $$$ to let him still be sitting on the bench. I think that Santonio Holmes is showing why he was our no.1 pick and he should start across from Hines for the rest of Hines career. Our secondary needs all kinds of help also. I think that we are set at the Safety positions with Clark and Polomalu. But the rest of that secondary must get help. And we Need A New Punter... when was the last time that Gardocki actually made a great punt that put an opponent inside the 5 yd line? Him and Duce should be roommates in Amersterdamn.

MERRRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE
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Old 12-17-2006, 08:44 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers face possible elimination

Quote:
The Steelers will also have to keep an eye on the scoreboard.
I think the Steelers need to keep their focus on what they are doing and not concern themselves with what other teams are doing/have done until AFTER the game. If they want to finish out with at least a respectable 9-7 record, they still need to play smash-mouth Steelers football whether they are in danger of elimination or not.
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Old 12-17-2006, 08:51 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers face possible elimination

Well the Steelers only have themselves to blame if they're eliminated today. But hey its still been a fun season no matter what. Sure I had big hopes for this team this year. But shit happens and I know this team will rebound next year with Cowher or without him.
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Old 12-17-2006, 05:20 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers face possible elimination

Quote:
Originally Posted by wedosesteelers2006 View Post

It would have been nice to have won those Oaklands' games and the others that they metioned but we didnt and I think that our team will/have learned from the mistakes that we made in those games. I know that finally Ben is starting to see the field alot better and making better decisions most of the time. I think that it has taken him this long to get his strength back and health also. he had a very bad offseason dont forget that. He had to have time to get over the things that happened and during the regular season is not easy to do. I think that O Line has got to have some reshaping in the upcoming offseason, they neeed help on the whole Right Side of the line and it is time for Hartings to move on. We are paying Chuki Okobi way too much $$$ to let him still be sitting on the bench. I think that Santonio Holmes is showing why he was our no.1 pick and he should start across from Hines for the rest of Hines career. Our secondary needs all kinds of help also. I think that we are set at the Safety positions with Clark and Polomalu. But the rest of that secondary must get help. And we Need A New Punter... when was the last time that Gardocki actually made a great punt that put an opponent inside the 5 yd line? Him and Duce should be roommates in Amersterdamn.

MERRRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE

Chris Gardocki does just fine punting the ball plus holds the ball for Reed on feilds
goals. A veteran who has shown to be reliable for a few years with the Steelers.
Thats if you remember watching the Steelers in past years. Thats why Bill kept
him at this position cause Barr was not good enough.

" Go Steelers "
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Old 12-17-2006, 05:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers face possible elimination

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
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Old 12-17-2006, 06:18 PM   #7
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I like the fact that we have a punter that DOES NOT GET BLOCKED. I will take a shorter field at times, rather then a REAL SHORT field off blocked punts.
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Old 12-17-2006, 06:50 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers face possible elimination

It's not that Ben is seeing the field better, it's that he's played more with his new receivers and their timing is better. Also, early in the season Ben was trusting his WR's more than he should have.

He was throwing it up for them as if it was Randel El out there instead of Holmes and Washington. Those two had a lot of drops earlier in the year. Ben learned to take the sack and punt it away.

Our secondary is okay and they'll be even better when Polomalu comes back 100%.
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