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Old 10-27-2009, 08:34 PM   #1
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Default Distraction-proof Steelers ready for bye week

Distraction-proof Steelers ready for bye week
By JOHN DUDLEY
john.dudley@timesnews.com
http://www.goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/...LL04/310279930

PITTSBURGH -- Seven games into their Super Bowl defense, the Pittsburgh Steelers remain a work in progress.

Their 17th-ranked running game is a question mark. The defense, top-ranked in the league last year, has slipped to 17th overall.

Meanwhile, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is on pace for career bests in yards and completion percentage.

The most important statistic, by far, is the 5-2 record that has the Steelers tied for the AFC North lead and in position to avoid the letdown that ruined their last post-championship season in 2006.

They enter the bye week reasonably healthy and on a four-game winning streak that erased the doubts of a 1-2 start. And they are coming off a satisfying 27-17 win over the previously unbeaten Minnesota Vikings and their iconic quarterback, Brett Favre.

"We're stacking wins," veteran receiver Hines Ward said. "(Going into) the month of November, we're heading in the right direction."

While they haven't exactly been dominant, the Steelers are two fourth-quarter collapses from being unbeaten.

They allowed 10 points in the final 61/2 minutes of a 17-14 loss at Chicago in Week 2. The next week they blew an 11-point lead after three quarters at Cincinnati and lost 23-20.

But, much as they did en route to their Super Bowl title last year, they have found ways to win during the current streak includes steady, far from spectacular wins against San Diego, Detroit, Cleveland and Minnesota.

Sunday's victory was their most impressive, and the most chaotic since the season-opening 13-10 overtime win over Tennessee.

The Vikings twice were on the verge of erasing three-point deficits in the fourth quarter when the Steelers forced turnovers and returned them for long touchdowns.

On a day when the offense sputtered, the defense came up with its biggest performance since Super Bowl XLIII.

"We feel like we have a really good defense," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "(Minnesota) was a big test for us and we answered the call."

After the bye week, the Steelers open a big stretch of three games in four weeks that could heavily influence the AFC North stretch run.

It starts with a trip to unbeaten Denver, where the Steelers could be without starting safety Ryan Clark, who nearly died the last time he was in the thin Colorado air because of a rare blood disorder.

After that, the Steelers host the Bengals, perhaps with the division lead on the line, then visit Kansas City before traveling to Baltimore for the first of two games in the final six weeks against the Ravens.

Coach Mike Tomlin, who banned talk of a repeat back in February, has managed to keep the Steelers' focus narrow.

Unlike in 2006, the Steelers haven't been derailed by distractions that include Roethlisberger's pending sexual harassment lawsuit, kicker Jeff Reed's two run-ins with police since February and an injury to All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu.

"I'm not a big picture guy," Tomlin said. "We understand as much as we continue to win, our position can't be any worse. I tend not to watch the standings when we win, only when we lose."

JOHN DUDLEY can be reached at 870-1677 or by e-mail. Check out his blog at GoErie.com/blogs/nfl.
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Old 10-27-2009, 08:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: Distraction-proof Steelers ready for bye week

Quote:
"I'm not a big picture guy," Tomlin said. "We understand as much as we continue to win, our position can't be any worse. I tend not to watch the standings when we win, only when we lose."
Just gotta love the guy. I wish a lot of Steelers fans had Coach T's attitude.

Nice read - thanks!
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: Distraction-proof Steelers ready for bye week

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Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
Just gotta love the guy. I wish a lot of Steelers fans had Coach T's attitude.

Nice read - thanks!
For you HTG, anything! Especially for the hard work you and the other mods do.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: Distraction-proof Steelers ready for bye week

Um, the Steelers' D is ranked 8th, not 17th. The Vikings' D is ranked 17th.

http://www.nfl.com/stats/categorysta...1&d-447263-n=1

I guess nobody proofreads their articles anymore.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: Distraction-proof Steelers ready for bye week

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Originally Posted by X-Terminator View Post
Um, the Steelers' D is ranked 8th, not 17th. The Vikings' D is ranked 17th.

http://www.nfl.com/stats/categorysta...1&d-447263-n=1

I guess nobody proofreads their articles anymore.
I was just about ready to look that up, I knew when I saw those rankings that they were BOLOGNA!
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: Distraction-proof Steelers ready for bye week

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Originally Posted by X-Terminator View Post
Um, the Steelers' D is ranked 8th, not 17th. The Vikings' D is ranked 17th.

http://www.nfl.com/stats/categorysta...1&d-447263-n=1

I guess nobody proofreads their articles anymore.
....john dudley of the Erie news.

what this board [bored] needs is MORE articles written by small town PA fishwrap hacks.



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