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Old 12-10-2009, 02:19 PM   #1
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Default Steelers Must Win Out, and Here Are Three Strategies

Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009 - 9:55 a.m. ET

The Steelers (6-6) have major issues and no margin for error.

A loss Thursday night to the lowly Browns (1-11) would be a crushing blow to the Steelers, who need to win out, and hope that 10-6 gets them into the playoffs. Pittsburgh's fourth consecutive defeat was a stunner a 27-24 home loss to the Raiders in Week 13. Sitting at .500 after 13 weeks is not the scenario the defending Super Bowl champs had in mind.

"Each season is very different, and what we do stands alone, even if a lot of the people are the same," coach Mike Tomlin told reporters. "Nothing stays the same in this game."

The Steelers have no excuse for taking the Browns lightly, not after losing to the Raiders last week. This is an opportunity for the Steelers defense to build confidence against a Browns offense ranked last in the NFL, led by Brady Quinn, a young quarterback still cutting his NFL teeth. Pittsburgh has beaten Cleveland 12 consecutive times, dating back to 2003. But Tomlin has been candid about the Steelers' recent shortcomings.

"We're not playing well enough to play winning football," Tomlin said. "That's the reality of it. The manner in which we've lost is really kind of irrelevant. That's the nature of the NFL. These games come down to the last moments. Good teams find ways to win. Teams that are not good, don't."

Here are three suggestions for the Steelers as they try to make a playoff push:

1. Rely more on the running game: Ben Roethlisberger has attempted at least 30 passes in all but three starts this season. Historically, more balance for the Steelers is better. With Rashard Mendenhall and Willie Parker, the Steelers have two backs who can get it done.

"I think they are still explosive from a running-game perspective," Browns coach Eric Mangini said.

Establishing the run would relieve pressure on Roethlisberger, as well as the defense, which is susceptible to big plays without injured safety Troy Polamalu.

2. Emphasize forcing turnovers:
The Steelers have five more turnovers (21) than takeaways (16), even though they still have a strong pass rush. Interceptions, stripped balls, ferocious hits that cause fumbles, tipped passes those kinds of plays change games. The Steelers are not creating enough turnovers, and in addition, their special teams have been poor. If that changes, so could their fortunes.

3. Get more creative in the red zone:
In 41 red zone trips this season, the Steelers have 20 touchdowns. Against Oakland, the Steelers' first three red-zone trips ended like this field goal; stopped on fourth-and-one; interception.

Even if Hines Ward (hamstring) does not play Thursday, WR Santonio Holmes, TE Heath Miller and rookie WR Mike Wallace give Roethlisberger enough weapons to be more effective in the red zone.

For the Steelers, every game now is like a playoff game. Last season, the Steelers responded consistently in clutch situations. This group of Steelers must prove it has a similar makeup.

"I think we have enough veteran leadership in here that we can overcome," Roethlisberger said.
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers Must Win Out, and Here Are Three Strategies

I have another strategy - DON'T LOSE

That should work..
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Old 12-10-2009, 03:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers Must Win Out, and Here Are Three Strategies

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_WARDen View Post
I have another strategy - DON'T LOSE

That should work..
DING DING DING!

We have a winner!
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Old 12-10-2009, 04:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers Must Win Out, and Here Are Three Strategies

It is pretty c.lear if the Steelers do not kick the buttocks of the Browns end to end in this game win or lose the season is over.

They have to dominate from the opening whistle to the final whistle...........simple as that

And if they give Josh Cribbs more big time return yards...........well they are done.......fork em

Tomlin has NOT done a good job of game day coaching

HE BETTER..........and keep being BETTER
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