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Old 12-16-2009, 07:31 PM   #1
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Default Can Pittsburgh finish strong?

Can Pittsburgh finish strong?
December, 16, 2009
http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth

By James Walker
The Pittsburgh Steelers (6-7) beat the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 10 teams in the latest ESPN.com Power Rankings by double-digit margins this season.

But the defending champions also lost to teams currently ranked No. 27, No. 28 and No. 29.

So which Pittsburgh team shows up Sunday against the Green Bay Packers (9-4)?

At this point, itís anyone's guess.

Will the Steelers show the fire and efficiency that it took to beat the Minnesota Vikings (11-2) and San Diego Chargers (10-3)? Or will the same Pittsburgh from last Thursday's loss to the Cleveland Browns (2-11) show up again Sunday at Heinz Field?

Five consecutive losses have taken the Steelers from shocked to angry and frustrated to mentally drained. For the stretch run, Pittsburgh is working towards getting back to the form that helped the team get off to a 6-2 start.

"It cannot rule us," Mike Tomlin said of past losses during his weekly news conference. "We got to focus singularly on the opportunity which is in front of us. Excuses and explanations for what has happened, particularly recently, is really kind of irrelevant."

We have seen the best of the Steelers and the worst of the Steelers all in one season.

Perhaps the most disappointing thing from Pittsburgh's perspective is that the team has been in every game. The Steelers' largest margin of defeat was seven points last week to the Browns.

In 2008, Pittsburgh won the close games on their way to a Super Bowl. This year, close losses have made the Steelers a below-.500 football team.

"Thereís a fine line between winning and losing," Tomlin said. "The line is not so fine when you're playing dominant, that's why it's our goal. But when we're not playing dominant, we have to find a way to make significant plays at correct moments."

Who are the Steelers?
Date Team Power ranking Score
GOOD WINS
Oct. 4 San Diego Chargers (10-3) No. 4 W, 38-28
Oct. 25 Minnesota Vikings (11-2) No. 3 W, 27-17
Nov. 9 Denver Broncos (8-5) No. 10 W, 28-10

UGLY LOSSES
Nov. 22 Kansas City Chiefs (3-10) No. 28 L, 24-27 (OT)
Dec. 6 Oakland Raiders (4-9) No. 27 L, 24-27
Dec. 10 Cleveland Browns (2-11) No. 29 L, 6-13
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Old 12-16-2009, 11:23 PM   #2
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Default Re: Can Pittsburgh finish strong?

I hope they finish strong, hopefully next year we unleash hell (not the hell that has been unleashed this december)
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Old 12-17-2009, 04:04 AM   #3
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Default Re: Can Pittsburgh finish strong?

I hope we can finish strong but we will see what happens these next three games.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:12 AM   #4
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Default Re: Can Pittsburgh finish strong?

They have to finish strong. Not necessarily to save any coaches job. But to save their own faces.
I could careless if they make the playoffs or not this season. With their so inconsistant play,
they are not going anywhere. But they can save faces and have some pride by finishing out strong.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: Can Pittsburgh finish strong?

One game at a time, I think its very doable, we certainly aren't a bad team, the Cleveland game (sadly) was the worst we've lost the whole season, its mainly been by 3 points we've lost by...

1. We need to get our head in the game, start getting some turnovers. Our defenders need to start to GO AFTER THE BALL. Screw who you're covering, lets try to make a play here... Worse case scenario is that we tip it, and its an incomplete.

2. We need the same protection O Line gave Dixon in Baltimore for Ben, give him some time.

3. Special teams needs EXTRA practice, I hope they're staying late, and starting HOURS earlier than everyone else, because hands-down has lost us every game this season.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:53 AM   #6
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Default Re: Can Pittsburgh finish strong?

I am concerned about a strong finish. I go back to the KC game, a game in which we dominated but lost. These guys have lost the swagger we generally attribute to our Steelers. The played baltimore tough, but you could see they just didn't seem to have the "want to" to finish them off. (see the Rice catch and run). I was at the Oakland game, and you could see in the pre game they didn't seem to have any fire. The Browns game speaks for itself.
IMO I think this team is mentally burned out. They don't seem to be thinking out there, they are making too many mental mistakes and in the NFL all it takes is a couple of those types of mistakes to alter a game. With any luck, this has passed, and the appearance of a quality team will bring our Steelers up to the level we are accustomed to seeing.
So.....LET'S HOPE SO!!!
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Old 12-17-2009, 03:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: Can Pittsburgh finish strong?

Offensively, I think they need to score points early for a change. This team, even when it wins, tends to have trouble getting into the end zone in the first quarter. I know that it can come down to the end, but the Steelers have been MAKING it come down to the end. I'm not sure what the reason is exactly... but they usually almost seem incapable of anything but a drive that ends in a punt or a field goal until the second quarter. Since the defense tends to play strong at the beginning of the games, the offense needs to take advantage of that.

Now, the defense needs to do the reverse and step it up at the end of the game. Not just play "solid" or "good..." They need to play dominantly. They need to hit the gas pedal in the 4th quarter and not let up.

And as for special teams... they just all need to be released. What a bunch of lazy idiots. Learn to tackle or get the hell out of the league.
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Old 12-17-2009, 04:53 PM   #8
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Default Re: Can Pittsburgh finish strong?

They play up or down based on their opponent.....I predict they will win out..........
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: Can Pittsburgh finish strong?

Let's hope we get three solid draft picks because greater Pittsburgh is out of U-hauls since they were all reserved a couple of weeks ago.
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Old 12-17-2009, 09:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: Can Pittsburgh finish strong?

If the Steelers come out and beat a pretty good Green Bay team almost flawlessly, it will probably be the biggest slap in the face to fans all season. All it will do is make us question the team even more and raise even more "what if" frustration. Like "Where was this team the last 5 weeks", "Too little too late", and that sort of thing.

Steelers fans are spoiled. We'll nitpick anything.

A strong finish will probably ease a little pain on this disappointing season, but we're still likely to miss the playoffs (again) and these embarrassing losses will take a while to live down.
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