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Old 11-04-2006, 09:17 AM   #1
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Default Keisel: Steelers need to get old magic working

Keisel: Steelers need to get old magic working
Saturday, November 04, 2006

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Brett Keisel and his defensive linemates were watching video the other day of the Steelers' AFC championship game victory in Denver last season, trying to go over some of the schemes that worked so well against the Broncos and quarterback Jake Plummer.

The game was played barely nine months ago at Denver's Invesco Field, and it sent the Steelers on their way to their first Super Bowl victory in 26 years. But the moment -- the feeling of euphoria -- seems like eons ago, given the numbing nature of the Steelers' 2-5 start this season.

Keisel, a new starter this season, would like to recapture that feeling. And he would like to recapture the moment, right down to the two big sacks and forced fumble he had on Plummer in the fourth quarter.

There likely is no better place to start than the return meeting tomorrow against the Broncos (5-2), who, unlike the Steelers, appear to be on the same track as last season.

"There's no reason why we can't do it," Keisel said. "We just need to do it, get that feeling back. That was so great last year after we beat this team.

"We need to get that feeling back again instead of this stupid losing feeling."

Keisel's sacks were typical of the types of plays the Steelers made on their run to the Super Bowl last season. They came on back-to-back plays with less than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, and the second resulted in a fourth-down fumble that was recovered by Travis Kirschke. It also resulted in Ben Roethlisberger's 4-yard touchdown run that cemented a 34-17 victory.

But those are the types of plays that have been missing this season.

Instead, the Steelers are making big plays for the other team, just as they did in a deflating, 20-13 defeat Sunday in Oakland. They are not finishing off opponents. Just themselves.

"That pretty much sealed the game, and that's what we need [tomorrow]," Keisel said of his two sacks. "We just haven't been making the big plays.

"This team is packed with playmakers. We just need to start doing it. Once that stuff does start to happen, we can start to get on a roll again and get after it and start winning some games."

Of course, the Steelers thought they had such a turnaround game the last time they played at Heinz Field when they hammered the Kansas City Chiefs, 45-7, Oct. 15. Then they lost four fumbles in Atlanta and allowed the Falcons to come back from three deficits for a 41-38 overtime victory. A week later, they had two of four interceptions returned for touchdowns in Oakland.

Now, here they are, sitting on the precipice of early playoff dismissal, trying to prevent more implosion against a team they manhandled nine months ago.

"It's been tough right now because we're sitting here with five games on the losing side of the deal," Keisel said. "But we need to flip it around, play one game, win one game, go play the next game, win another game and get on a roll and start getting some confidence."

The Steelers have to get on some kind of roll much earlier than last season, when they won their last four regular-season games and became the first team in NFL history to win all their playoff games on the road.

For Keisel, the culmination of that roll came in Denver, in the fourth quarter, when he came into the game in passing situations and produced the back-to-back sacks on Plummer, ending a Broncos threat. And not just because it sent the Steelers to Super Bowl XL in Detroit.

"That was just such a fun game for me to play in last year," said Keisel, who was born and raised in Greybull, Wyo. "To be in their home, playing against the Broncos, growing up in Wyoming, I never would have thought in a million years that I'd be playing in that type of game. It was huge."

And he made two of the biggest plays.

"He had done some things throughout his career, but to do it in a game of that magnitude ... I didn't think they could deny him much longer," said defensive end Aaron Smith.

Keisel hasn't stopped there. An unrestricted free agent in the offseason, he signed a new contract and replaced Kimo von Oelhoffen as the starter at right defensive end. Through seven games, he has only two sacks but leads the team with 12 quarterback pressures. What's more, Keisel has become more of an every-down player than von Oelhoffen, who often was replaced on third down.

"I was joking around with some of the other guys," Keisel said. "I said those two plays are the only reason I'm still here."

If only the Steelers could find more of those plays.

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Old 11-04-2006, 11:25 AM   #2
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Default Re: Keisel: Steelers need to get old magic working

We definantly need the old magic. We get it working Sunday against the Broncos.

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