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Old 12-31-2007, 07:33 AM   #1
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Default What matters is next week

Column: What matters is next week
By Mike Bires, Times Sports Staff
Published: Monday, December 31, 2007 12:08 AM EST


BALTIMORE ? The encouraging news for the Pittsburgh Steelers as they head into the playoffs is that they have a fresh slate. In other words, they?ve already forgotten yesterday.

Today, they begin their focus on all that matters, and that?s the Jacksonville Jaguars.

That 27-21 exercise in futility Sunday in Baltimore means nothing.

It will not affect the Steelers? psyche.

It will not have any effect on their chances of beating the Jaguars in a wild card game Saturday night in Pittsburgh.

Even the fact that the Steelers? defense got ripped to shreds by the likes of Troy Smith, Musa Smith, Cory Ross and Devard Darling doesn?t mean anything.

?We don?t tote baggage performance to performance,? coach Mike Tomlin after the Steelers finished 2-3 in their games played in December. ?If we came out and played stellar today, it would mean nothing in terms of what we have to do next week.?

NFL coaches like to say there?s no such thing as a meaningless, but, of course, we know better. What transpired Sunday between two teams playing so many second, third and even fourth stringers was indeed the quintessential meaningless game.

It was just as meaningless as the Jaguars? 42-28 loss to the Houston Texans.

Check the box score of that insignificant game and you?ll see that Jags stars such as David Garrard, Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew didn?t play.

Sure, the Steelers had a chance to move into the AFC?s No. 3 seed if they won and the San Diego Chargers lost (the Bolts didn?t lose).

But really, it doesn?t matter.

Tomlin admitted as much last week.

One day, Tomlin told the Pittsburgh media there is significance between the third and fourth seeds.

Two days later, he told the Baltimore media just the opposite.

That?s why Tomlin didn?t play Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward against the Ravens. That?s why he yanked a handful of assorted veterans at various points of the game, not wanting to risk injuries to key players.

What matters most right now is that the Steelers get ready for the Jaguars, period. And based on that happened Dec. 16 in Pittsburgh, that should be easy.

For on that day at Heinz Field, not only did Jacksonville win, 29-22. But it ripped the Pittsburgh defense for 421 yards, including 224 on the ground.

?They came into our backyard and whipped our butts,? safety Tyrone Carter said. ?So anytime you get to play a team again that whipped your butts the first time, you?re looking for revenge.?

That?s why Sunday?s loss in Baltimore means nothing. The only focus now is Jacksonville.
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Old 12-31-2007, 02:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: What matters is next week

?They came into our backyard and whipped our butts,? safety Tyrone Carter said. ?So anytime you get to play a team again that whipped your butts the first time, you?re looking for revenge.?

Indeed....I can`t believe my beautiful Steelers will let it happen again!
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Old 12-31-2007, 02:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: What matters is next week

the steelers will have to avenge their previous loss against the jaguars with essex at LT. harrison might not play either. he is the only LB this year that has shown he can tackle, put forth effort every play and apply pressure.

the defense is looking weaker and weaker each week.
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