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Thread: Imperfect Steelers in a good spot

      
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    Default Imperfect Steelers in a good spot

    Imperfect Steelers in a good spot
    October 18, 2009
    Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker


    Ben Roethlisberger threw for 417 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's victory.


    PITTSBURGH -- The defending Super Bowl champions are by no means perfect.

    But the Pittsburgh Steelers are 4-2 after Sunday’s 27-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns. Considering the circumstances, the Steelers are in a good spot six weeks into the season.

    The start of Pittsburgh's title defense has seen many challenges.

    There was talk of a Super Bowl hangover after dropping two of the first three games. Pittsburgh’s defense also struggled to hold leads, and there were significant injuries early to safety Troy Polamalu (knee), tailback Willie Parker (toe) and defensive end Aaron Smith (shoulder). Smith is out for the season.

    Yet, the Steelers have won twice as many games as they’ve lost and are tied for the best record in the AFC North with the Cincinnati Bengals (4-2), who currently hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.

    On Sunday, Pittsburgh amassed 543 total yards but had four turnovers in a sloppy victory at Heinz Field.

    "A lot of things were done at a high level," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said afterward. "But we continue to fall short of perfection, and we acknowledge that."

    Pittsburgh had its share of miscues against the struggling Browns (1-5).

    The Steelers had an interception and three lost fumbles in a game that would have been much closer against a better opponent. Pittsburgh will play top-level competition starting next week against the undefeated Minnesota Vikings (6-0) and need to be much more efficient. Games against the Denver Broncos and Bengals will follow.

    The turnovers may sting, but Pittsburgh won its 12th game in a row in this rivalry. Perhaps the biggest bright spot was the passing game and the performance of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who put together his second career 400-yard performance with 417 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He spread the ball to six receivers as Cleveland failed to cover anyone on a consistent basis.

    The running game also contributed 140 yards, with starting tailback Rashard Mendenhall leading the way with 62 yards and a third-quarter touchdown. The Steelers are averaging 31 points per game during a three-game winning streak over the San Diego Chargers, Detroit Lions and Cleveland.

    "I don’t even think we know how good we can be [offensively], truth be told," Roethlisberger said. "I think we have to keep striving for excellence."

    Added Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians: "The points didn’t match the performance. When we put it all together we’re going to be pretty darn good."

    With the passing game clicking, receivers Hines Ward (eight catches, 159 yards) and Santonio Holmes (five catches, 104 yards) both had big days and big plays. Tight end Heath Miller added five catches for 80 yards and a touchdown.

    Pittsburgh benefited from short fields in the second half. But lost fumbles by Roethlisberger, Mendenhall and Parker kept even more points off the board.

    "There’s always room for improvement," Holmes said. "We’re giving up points, putting the ball on the ground, and we’re not stopping teams from driving down the field."

    The return of Polamalu at safety paid big dividends as the Steelers held the Browns to one offensive touchdown. Polamalu had four tackles and an interception in his first game since Sept. 10.

    Pittsburgh’s defense looked much better with Polamalu in the back end of the secondary. There weren’t nearly as many big passing plays allowed, and the Steelers had two sacks and forced four turnovers. The Steelers, who struggled mightily in the fourth quarter earlier this season, held Cleveland scoreless in the final period to preserve the win.

    Tomlin said the Steelers may have to monitor how Polamalu’s knee responds after the safety's first game action in more than a month.

    "I feel good," Polamalu said in the locker room. "Had we lost, who knows? But after a victory, everything feels pretty good."

    Pittsburgh was the only AFC North team to win in Week 6. That further tightens the three-team division race as the Steelers, Bengals and Baltimore Ravens (3-3) all have issues but remain within a game of each other.

    "We’re not big-picture guys," Tomlin said about the team's standing. "It’s going to all sort out in the wash. The thing is, as we continue to push through this journey, we better continue to be a team on the rise."

    http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/pos...in-a-good-spot

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    Default Re: Imperfect Steelers in a good spot

    Like I said before,if they can find a way to beat the Vikings,they are in a good position heading into the bye.
    Are these morons getting dumber or just louder-Mayor Quimby

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    Default Re: Imperfect Steelers in a good spot

    I see a lot of imperfection. But I'm in the camp of improve as you go along and hit your stride at the end of the season. I prefer that to coming out lights out early and fall off late.

    But the fact is they're tied or 1/2 game behind at the top of the division, so it's much much better than the last time they won the SB.

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    Default Re: Imperfect Steelers in a good spot

    Right now, though. The Saints would crush the Steelers.

    The Vikings matchup is intriguing, no doubt, and then the one in Denver is also a very intriguing matchup. What could be interesting about this is that they have a chance to match their 2004 feat of beating two back-to-back undefeated teams in a row. But, still... I think this team has a lot of issues. The running game isn't consistent. The secondary has had issues, and the linebacking corp has yet to achieve last years glimmers of greatness..

    We will see though. The last 3 games, the Steelers pretty much had big opening leads, and won each one. So, if they can pull it off against the Vikes and Broncos, then this team will be in great shape to at least represent well in the AFC. Although, I think the road to the SB, goes through the Indy Colts, this year...

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    Default Re: Imperfect Steelers in a good spot

    Quote Originally Posted by foslrock View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Right now, though. The Saints would crush the Steelers.

    The Vikings matchup is intriguing, no doubt, and then the one in Denver is also a very intriguing matchup. What could be interesting about this is that they have a chance to match their 2004 feat of beating two back-to-back undefeated teams in a row. But, still... I think this team has a lot of issues. The running game isn't consistent. The secondary has had issues, and the linebacking corp has yet to achieve last years glimmers of greatness..

    We will see though. The last 3 games, the Steelers pretty much had big opening leads, and won each one. So, if they can pull it off against the Vikes and Broncos, then this team will be in great shape to at least represent well in the AFC. Although, I think the road to the SB, goes through the Indy Colts, this year...
    I agree with you 100% rock...Realistically, even with the W's, the Steelers are grossly underperforming. They have yet to really have a complete game where the O and D come together to dominate a team. They haven't gotten the run game going yet. Even as good as Ben is I still think he's throwing a little too much. I want him to be able to go out and win games...but he's been over 30 attempts I think in every game this year...and eventually that could come back to bite us. We haven't figured out how to run the ball so if Ben has a bad game the team is done.

    I agree about the D too. The LBs haven't looked good...the secondary has looked terrible at times...and as a whole the D is unimpressive. That might be one of the few times I can remember saying that about a Steelers D.
    We faced the worst run D in the league and they had a better YPC average than we did.

    Hopefully, we can come out against a GREAT opponent in the Vikes and put together a complete game and get a big win...we REALLY need a complete game from both our O and D.
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