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Old 11-05-2012, 03:42 PM   #21
Hawaii 5-0
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Default Re: Great game

Pittsburgh gets a signature win

11/5/2012
F. Dale Lolley

During the course of a season, you’ll have bad losses, good victories and signature wins or losses.

The Steelers’ 24-20 win Sunday over the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants would qualify as a signature victory.

The Steelers already have a bad loss (at Oakland or Tennessee, pick one) and a good win (at Cincinnati). But, at least to this point, they didn’t have a signature win.

And given how the defense had failed to hold leads in the fourth quarter at Oakland and Tennessee, those were beginning to look like signature losses. Failing in the fourth quarter was starting to look like what was going to hold this team back.

But against the Giants, who were averaging nearly 400 yards and more than 29 points per game, Pittsburgh’s defense was finally the difference.

That defense, which had been giving up more than 26 points per game on the road, held the Giants to 20 points, and seven of those came against the Steelers’ offense.

More importantly, the Giants had three possessions in the fourth quarter. Each was a three-and-out, including one after the Steelers had scored to go ahead 24-20.

The Steelers entered the game ranked second in the NFL in total defense, but didn’t pass the eye test, mostly because of their shaky play on the road. But by beating the defending Super Bowl champions on the road and limiting Giants quarterback Eli Manning to 125 passing yards and 41.1 passer rating, the Steelers have kicked open the door in the AFC and must now be considered a serious Super Bowl contender themselves.

That’s what a signature win will do will do for a team. Even with this victory, the Steelers are 5-3, a game behind Baltimore in the AFC North. But with two games against the Ravens in the next four weeks – the first coming Nov. 18 at home – is there anyone who doesn’t live in Baltimore and thinks the Steelers are the second-best team in the AFC North?

With three wins in a row and the victory over the Giants, the Steelers have not only gained momentum as a team, they’ve gained plenty of confidence as well. You can see it in the way that young players such as cornerback Keenan Lewis and running backs Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman – who had career-high 147 yards Sunday – are playing.

Are there still problems? Sure.

Strong safety Troy Polamalu has appeared in only two games, and wide receiver Antonio Brown suffered what head coach Mike Tomlin said was a slight high-ankle sprain against the Giants.

But what team in the AFC – or NFL for that matter – doesn’t have its issues?

The Steelers, however, are finding ways to win games despite their issues.

They now have their good win, their bad losses and a signature victory. If they can avoid a signature loss, the Steelers could be in this season for the long haul.

http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/...05-2012_lolley

Last edited by Hawaii 5-0; 11-05-2012 at 03:55 PM.
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