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Old 12-05-2011, 08:49 AM   #1
LayingTheWoodley56
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Default This team turned a corner yesterday

When the 2011 Pittsburgh Steelers dropped to 2-2 after a very flat, uninspired performance against Houston, and in light of the opening day shellacking that still pains us all, I have to admit that even as an optimstic fan I had my doubts that we were even going to make the playoffs this year.

How wrong we all were.

This team looked excellent yesterday. They played with enthusiasm, a spirited, top to bottom energy from the oldest player on the roster to the youngest. Some thoughts:

- I can't say it strongly enough: our boys just looked like they were having fun yesterday. You had Hines breaking out his signature smile after the 15-yard penalty was called when he was thrown out of bounds. You had a visibly juiced Antonio Brown bouncing back to the sidelines after that punt return with a big smile on his face, and it looked like all his teammates were just as pumped up. You had Sanders emerging from the pile on the kickoff return fumble and emphatically pointing that it was Steelers ball as the crowd went nuts. It's great to see the oldest team in the league (as no one, it seems, gets tired of pointing out) looking like a bunch of kids out there having a great ****ing time playing some football.

- Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen showed a little flair yesterday, jawing with opponents, getting in there and making plays on special teams. There contributions, as well as of course the field goal block by #1 pick Heyward, were huge bright spots yesterday. The penalty-negated TD, then the penalty-negated FG that led to the block I think really deflated the Bungles. Just goes to show, yet again, that penalties and sloppiness will kill you every time.

- James Harrison just gets to the quarterback, plain and simple. What a beast. Keisel has been very impressive this season, and its great to see Zig coming along on the other side. Mendenhall, while still failing to produce the bulk yardage that we would ideally like to see, at least looks like he may be reading this or another message board because he seems to be making a concentrated effort to put his shoulder down and run north and south, not east and west. He showed a nose for the goal line yesterday as well, finally.

- Another two turnovers. Keep 'em coming, it's about time.

- I've always thought that we play best when we establish the run and keep Ben's attempts below 30 or so, even though I've softened that stance somewhat as he has improved markedly as a traditional pocket passer. Still, you saw again yesterday that that formula works. Ben threw the ball 23 times; we won 35-7. The performance on offense was good, but not great as we did have a short field to work with after the special teams turnover, got spotted half the field on the dubious PI call that went our way on Wallace, and of course we had the punt return TD so only 14 really solid offensive points. Still an efficient and effective performance all around.

Overall, yesterday was a dominating performance against a team that everyone kept saying may be for real. I don't think that the Bengals are quite there yet, but they've certainly proven to be no pushover and we flat-out manhandled them. We have one loss against non-purple wearing teams this year, and this team has shown me and everyone else how wrong we have been for even thinking about counting them out after four games. At 9-3 and with what you have to think are three gimme games left on the schedule, we are one great performance in San Fran away from winning 13 games and very possibly again sitting atop the AFC.
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: This team turned a corner yesterday

You mean how wrong "most of us" were, right?

Because I for one have been saying all along that we haven't peaked yet and that when things start to click we'll be awesome and that we still have our best games ahead of us.
But I do agree that we have seemed to turn a corner and if we're headed towards "peaking" I think we're doing it at just the right time.
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: This team turned a corner yesterday

Yep, I didn't think we had much of a shot at 2-2

but then Starks and Gilbert stabilized our OL enough for me to believe

Now we just need to figure out a way to stay healthy enough for the final stretch
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:07 AM   #4
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Default Re: This team turned a corner yesterday

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You mean how wrong "most of us" were, right?

Because I for one have been saying all along that we haven't peaked yet and that when things start to click we'll be awesome and that we still have our best games ahead of us.
But I do agree that we have seemed to turn a corner and if we're headed towards "peaking" I think we're doing it at just the right time.
I am wrong to say "all of us." I'm not saying that I was on the ledge either at 2-2, because I too am usually very optimistic and knowing this collection of players I would never count them out after just four games. There was some doubt beginning to creep in, however. I always felt though, that while the media was piling on us ("old, slow, and done," anyone?) that they were very quick to forget the fact that this exact same team went to the Super Bowl LAST SEASON. To paraphrase Muhammad Ali, "Eat your words!"
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: This team turned a corner yesterday

Let's just win our games and not worry about sitting atop the AFC

There is a very real possibility that we will be a 13-3 #5 seed. And no, not because the Ravens will win out and swept us. Because if things stand, New England and Houston have 1 less conference loss.

Just saying.
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:32 AM   #6
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Default Re: This team turned a corner yesterday

Are the Steelers still the oldest team in the NFL? I'm thinking now that Smith is on IR and Ziggy starting, Hines no longer the "starter", Legursky starting over Kemo, Gilbert starting, Gay starting over BMac, etc, does that change the equation?
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:33 AM   #7
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Default Re: This team turned a corner yesterday

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Originally Posted by LayingTheWoodley56 View Post
I am wrong to say "all of us." I'm not saying that I was on the ledge either at 2-2, because I too am usually very optimistic and knowing this collection of players I would never count them out after just four games. There was some doubt beginning to creep in, however. I always felt though, that while the media was piling on us ("old, slow, and done," anyone?) that they were very quick to forget the fact that this exact same team went to the Super Bowl LAST SEASON. To paraphrase Muhammad Ali, "Eat your words!"
I'm not busting your shoes.

It's just that the way I look at it is that we can either win or we can lose or we can be good or we can be bad. Since it's just as easy to go with one as the other, I choose to go with "win" and "good". That's not just because I'm a fan, but rather it's because I see the potential and that there's something really awesome just under the surface and that it would just take some time to unearth it and make it work.

Believe me, I've seen this team at its worst (think: 1980's) and we're nowhere near that; quite the opposite, actually. We have all the tools and talent to be one of the best -- if not THE best team we've ever seen and I think that's starting to show.

We're not quite "there" yet, but we're getting closer!
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: This team turned a corner yesterday

If the special teams even steps it up and makes 1 splash play per game, let alone 3, I would be thrilled

BUT - this offense needs to know how to score on the road, and on a long field (waiting for tomatoes! lol)
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:22 AM   #9
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Default Re: This team turned a corner yesterday

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We're not quite "there" yet, but we're getting closer!
Agreed. Doesn't this fit the trend? This team tends to either play average, or just above average, during the regular season. But in the home stretch they really start to turn it on.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: This team turned a corner yesterday

They better be geared up for Cleveland. Another division rival who has killed us at the worst possible time in the past. They may play out of their minds on their one shot in prime time this year. I hate the way this team plays down to their opponents. They better kick butt and take names again on a short week.
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