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Old 12-27-2010, 09:31 PM   #1
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Default Steelers report: Inside slant

Steelers report: Inside slant
The Sports Xchange
Dec. 27, 2010

The task for Pittsburgh Sunday is simple and far-reaching: Beat the Browns in Cleveland and they win the AFC North Division and get a bye into the second week of the playoffs as the conference's No. 2 seed.

However, if they lose, their road becomes much more difficult as a likely wild-card playoff team with no bye and no home game.

"We take care of us and it doesn't matter what anybody else does," said nose tackle Casey Hampton. "At the end of the day, we control our own destiny and that's all you can ask for."

Pittsburgh and Baltimore are tied in the AFC North at 11-4 but the Steelers hold the tiebreaker with just one loss within the division to two for the Ravens, who finish up with Cincinnati. The Steelers have held the edge over the Ravens ever since their 13-10 victory in Baltimore Dec. 5. The Steelers have not blown a division lead in the final month of the season over the past 20 years and just once since the NFL merger in 1970, a period in which they've won 19 division titles. They blew a one-game lead in 1990 with one game left and did not make the playoffs that season.

They don't want to make this No. 2.

"We want to clinch the second seed and our division," linebacker LaMarr Woodley said. "We have to take care of Cleveland. Last year, when we played Cleveland down there, they took care of business on us. We have to make sure that doesn't happen this year."

The lowly Browns stunned the Steelers 13-6 in Cleveland last December, virtually knocking Pittsburgh out of the playoffs. It was their fifth straight loss and they recovered with three victories to finish 9-7 but lost a tiebreaker to Baltimore for a wild-card spot. (Oh Airhead I'll never forget your "brilliant" game plan that you devised. - mesa)

The Steelers have clinched at least a wild-card spot but that is a world of difference from a No. 2 seed.

"We went up there and laid an egg," defensive end Brett Keisel said of their 2009 loss in Cleveland. "We're not trying to do that again. They have a good run attack too so we'll have to be (ready).

"Cleveland always plays us tough. They have a good offensive line, they have a good running back, they'll be out for blood. It'll be a tough game."

Pittsburgh, though, is different from the version of 2009 that collapsed after starting 6-2. And right up until that December loss in Cleveland, they had dominated the Browns, beating them 12 in a row. The Browns lost in Pittsburgh 28-10 in the fifth game of the season, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's first after serving a four-game suspension.

"We know they're going to try to knock us out or knock us down," linebacker James Farrior said. "That's what a division rivalry is all about and they're definitely a rivalry."

Copyright (C) 2010 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

Steelers report: Notes, quotes
The Sports Xchange
Dec. 27, 2010

QB Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Mike Wallace have become the best deep-play scoring combo in Steelers history. They already have tied the club record with seven touchdown passes of at least 40 yards and they've only been together two seasons.

Rookie wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has caught 11 passes for 132 yards in the past two games as he becomes more of a target as the No. 3 receiver.

Steelers report: Strategy and personnel
The Sports Xchange
Dec. 27, 2010


--LB James Farrior tied his career high with six sacks and at 35 remains strong; five of those sacks have come in the past six games.

--WR Hines Ward, who has led or tied for the team lead in receptions the past 11 seasons, is second with 54 entering the final game, three behind Mike Wallace.

--QB Ben Roethlisberger has two rushing touchdowns, the only one on the team other than Rashard Mendenhall (11) to have any. Roethlisberger's 152 yards rushing are second highest of his career.

--WR Mike Wallace has six 100-yard receiving games, tied for second most in a season in Steelers history.

--PK Shaun Suisham has made 12 straight field-goal attempts since joining the Steelers for their Nov. 21 game before he missed one last week. He is 12 of 13.

Copyright (C) 2010 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.
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Old 12-27-2010, 10:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers report: Inside slant

I'm pretty sure the Steelers are looking forward to this. They want to make up for that loss last year and hope they go all out like the Panthers game.
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Old 12-27-2010, 11:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers report: Inside slant

I could not believe last season's game. It was cold, it was windy, we were up against the worst run defense in the league. And what does Arians do? Empty backfield set on 3rd and 1, multiple times.

Cribs and the Wildcat killed us too.

That won't happen this time around.
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