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Old 11-16-2009, 06:06 AM   #1
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Default Harris: With eyes wide open, Steelers stung

Harris: With eyes wide open, Steelers stung
Buzz up!
By John Harris, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, November 16, 2009
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...s_653392.html#

For the first time during the Mike Tomlin era, the Steelers are struggling to win key head-to-head battles in the AFC North.

It's a strange, uncomfortable feeling for the defending Super Bowl champions, but there's a first time for everything.

The Steelers, under Tomlin, don't normally lose big games the way they did Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field flailing and out-of-sync.

After all, it was a home division game against the Cincinnati Bengals, who beat the Steelers, 23-20, in September.

If anything, yesterday's rematch hurt more than the first loss because this time the Steelers knew what was coming. Their eyes were wide open.

November is when the Steelers take control of their destiny. They were 7-2 in November in Tomlin's first two seasons, including 3-0 in division play.

Oh, well.

Time for the Steelers to start a new streak.

"They've beaten the defending division champs twice, so they deserve it,'' inside linebacker James Farrior said of the Bengals. "It doesn't happen often, but it's a tough game. It was a tough day today.''

It wasn't a fluke or an aberration. The entire 53-man roster and coaching staff had a hand in the Steelers' 18-12 loss to Cincinnati.

Not only was it the first time the Steelers have been swept by a division opponents since 2006, it marked the first time it occurred under Tomlin.

"Job (well) done by the Cincinnati Bengals,'' Tomlin said. "I congratulate those guys. That's a good football team. We've got some work to do. We're a team that's still developing.''

To have any chance of winning the AFC North, the Steelers need Cincinnati to collapse over the final seven games.

That's unlikely. The Bengals (7-2) have swept the season series against the Steelers and Baltimore and have already beaten Cleveland once.

The Steelers (6-3), meanwhile, need to finish the regular season strong, including winning their two remaining games against Baltimore and one against Cleveland.

"They're going to be division champs unless Cleveland beats them, and even then, I think they still have it,'' said free safety Ryan Clark, all but conceding the division title to the Bengals. "Obviously, it makes the Baltimore games, when we do play them, that much more important. Those are games we have to win.''

The secret to the Steelers' postseason success has almost always been their ability to dominate, or at least control, the division. Instead, it's the Steelers who are now feeling the pressure because of failures in the division.

"It's not good when you put yourself in a situation where you're sitting and waiting for a team to win or lose,'' defensive end Nick Eason said. "That's not a position you want to be in.''

Veteran wide receiver Hines Ward is one of the precious few Steelers who was on the roster along with cornerback Deshea Townsend the last time Cincinnati swept the season series between the teams in 1998.

How long ago was it? None of the current Bengals were on the roster in 1998.

Just because it's been more than a decade doesn't make losing twice to the Bengals in the same season any easier for Ward to accept.

The Steelers swept the season series against Cincinnati five times during that span.

"It's tough,'' said Ward, who was a rookie when the Steelers lost 25-20 and 25-24 to the Bengals. "But the season is not over. Anything can happen. They did what they had to do for the year. Is the season over? No.''

Can the Steelers catch the Bengals and win the division?

"I hope so,'' said Farrior, who didn't sound very convincing.

After yesterday's unexpected ending, who could blame him?
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Old 11-16-2009, 08:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: Harris: With eyes wide open, Steelers stung

This game also saw Ben do his best Brett Farver impersonation, throwing deep and in to double coverage when underneath routes were there. For whatever reason, Ben looked uncomfortable today and didn't move around a lot.

Shite happens, take it out on the next opponent.
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Old 11-16-2009, 08:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: Harris: With eyes wide open, Steelers stung

Quote:
"They're going to be division champs unless Cleveland beats them, and even then, I think they still have it,'' said free safety Ryan Clark, all but conceding the division title to the Bengals.
Gee Ryan - nothing like crowning the Bungles the AFCN champs with 7 games still to play. I hope you didn't carry that statement into the locker room.

The Steelers need to focus on themselves and not worry about what the Bungles, the Rats or any other team is doing. Win out the rest of the season and take it from there.
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Old 11-16-2009, 08:38 AM   #4
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Default Re: Harris: With eyes wide open, Steelers stung

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Originally Posted by stlrtruck View Post
This game also saw Ben do his best Brett Farver impersonation, throwing deep and in to double coverage when underneath routes were there. For whatever reason, Ben looked uncomfortable today and didn't move around a lot.

Shite happens, take it out on the next opponent.
You are so right Ben just seemed off a little. On the Deep throws had the ball not been under thrown we would have had 2 TD's. I think Ben will adjust to the Speed of Wallace and realize that when he has 1 step on a guy you let it rip because this guy has another gear.

Games like this are a reality and you move on from them. KC is next Sunday's game is in the books and History.
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Old 11-16-2009, 08:53 AM   #5
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Default Re: Harris: With eyes wide open, Steelers stung

Looks like the negative nancy seeped into the Steelers Locker Room instead of fan boards this time.

That's a great loser's mentality, Ryan. C'Mon dude, you're better than that.

If you want to look at anyone in the Locker Room, take a gander at the guy with #7 on his chest. I don't know what happened to the guy, but he was completely out of it. Impatient and indecisive. Ben got big headed and greedy.

We said Ben's style of game is a double edged sword, well we saw the other side of that sword today.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: Harris: With eyes wide open, Steelers stung

I think I became more depressed after reading that article
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:40 PM   #7
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Default Re: Harris: With eyes wide open, Steelers stung

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Originally Posted by Edman View Post
Looks like the negative nancy seeped into the Steelers Locker Room instead of fan boards this time.

That's a great loser's mentality, Ryan. C'Mon dude, you're better than that.

If you want to look at anyone in the Locker Room, take a gander at the guy with #7 on his chest. I don't know what happened to the guy, but he was completely out of it. Impatient and indecisive. Ben got big headed and greedy.

We said Ben's style of game is a double edged sword, well we saw the other side of that sword today.
Yes, it was clearly Ben's fault when Holmes let that pass in the end zone go by him. It was also Ben's fault that Mendy got tackled for a loss or a gain of 2 yards at crucial times. It was absolutely Ben's fault that Wallace had several drops at key times. It was Ben's fault that Kemo got called for holding and they had to move back 10 yards when they had been at 1st and goal. It was Ben's fault that ST allowed another touchdown return. It was Ben's fault that Harrison punched a guy and got a 15 yard penalty. It was Ben's fault that Troy got hurt and our defensive rhythm was thrown off once again. And of course, every single sack or hit that Ben took was his fault because the offensive line was blocking SO well for him.

You can't blame yesterday on one guy. Ben shoulders plenty of the blame, it's true. He certainly didn't look very good. Neither did anyone else on the offense, though. And ST was terrible as always.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: Harris: With eyes wide open, Steelers stung

I'm giving Ryan the benefit of the doubt that his comments were edited and taken out of context. That just doesn't sound like him at all.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:16 PM   #9
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Default Re: Harris: With eyes wide open, Steelers stung

I'm certain The Steelers will be nice and plenty of pissed off for this week's game.....
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