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DIESELMAN
11-12-2007, 10:08 AM
PITTSBURGH -- They've been toiling in the shadows of the Patriots and Colts this season, a team good enough to be 7-2 but not good enough to be among the NFL's elite. When it comes to evaluating the Pittsburgh Steelers, we need to know more.

We need to know their identity.

Certainly that was the message head coach Mike Tomlin spelled out for his team at halftime Sunday after they fell behind the Cleveland Browns, 21-9.

He told his team it didn't matter how poorly they had played in the first half. He stressed they easily could rebound with better execution and sharper focus. And then he emphasized one last thing -- moments like this provide an opportunity for a team to establish its identity, to show what it is capable of achieving when faced with adverse circumstances.

Two quarters later, Tomlin, the Steelers and the rest of the NFL had the answer: Pittsburgh 31, Cleveland 28.

"We had an opportunity to do something today that we hadn't done all season," Tomlin said. "And we showed our mettle."

This was the first time this season the Steelers had won a game after trailing at halftime. The Arizona Cardinals manhandled them 21-14 on Sept. 30, and the Denver Broncos beat them 31-28 on Oct. 21. In both games, the Steelers looked as meek as they did in the first half of Sunday's win and it cost them mightily.

http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2007/1111/nfl_a_foote_580.jpg

But this time they decided they wouldn't allow the Browns to run away from them, especially not with a disgruntled home crowd urging them on.

Here's more of what we learned about the Steelers:

They can rebound from big plays: The Browns' Joshua Cribbs produced two huge kickoff returns, including a 100-yarder that put Cleveland ahead 28-24 with 11:14 left and the Steelers taking charge. On the next possession, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led Pittsburgh on a 14-play, 78-yard scoring drive that chewed up just more than eight minutes. He capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Heath Miller.

Their vaunted defense can adjust: Pittsburgh may have the NFL's stingiest defense, but Browns quarterback Derek Anderson torched it for three touchdown passes in the first half. In the second half, the Steelers stopped the Browns cold and held them to 163 yards overall -- the second straight opponent Pittsburgh has held to less than 200 yards.

Anderson faced more pressure and his passes became less accurate in the second half when the Steelers took away his favorite targets, tight end Kellen Winslow and wide receiver Braylon Edwards (four catches in the final two quarters).

The Steelers have clutch players: Roethlisberger spread the ball to six different receivers and scored on a 30-run in the fourth quarter, and Willie Parker rushed for 105 yards.

"Nobody was yelling or complaining when we got down," said wide receiver Hines Ward, who caught seven passes for 80 yards and one touchdown. "In fact, the receivers were all excited because we're usually shutting the offense down once Willie gets to 100 yards. It's great when everybody is contributing because it's a total team effort. And we need games like these if we're going to make it to the next level."

What the Steelers also needed was a clear understanding of their weaknesses. Cribbs' ability to race through their kick coverage was the most obvious of Pittsburgh's flaws. That 100-yard return was especially puzzling because he misplayed the ball at first, then retreated to recover it at the goal line before eluding a handful of tacklers and racing up the sideline. (He also had a 90-yard return in the first quarter that set up the Browns' second touchdown.)

Tomlin said the kick-return issues would be addressed this week. He's also likely to emphasize the value of his team maintaining its focus over the next three weeks because the Steelers surely won't be tested like they were Sunday.

Pittsburgh will face three losing teams -- the New York Jets (1-8), Miami Dolphins (0-9) and Cincinnati Bengals (3-6) -- before a Dec. 9 meeting with New England, and it's safe to assume the Steelers will have a substantial lead in the AFC North at that point. With the win over Cleveland (5-4), the Steelers hold a two-game edge in their division.

That's an advantage that Tomlin's players don't underestimate.

"We really aren't concerned with how our wins look at this time of year," said left tackle Marvel Smith. "We just want to keep putting together some victories so we can have some control over our destiny later this season."

That happened to be the same sentiment that Tomlin conveyed as he spoke to reporters after the game. He said his team is always striving for perfection, but he wasn't about to apologize for a win that wasn't as pretty as some would've liked. He knows that his team just survived a scare from a vastly improved Cleveland team and that's enough to make him content with the outcome.

After all, he's only in his first season as Pittsburgh's head coach, and he's learning more about himself and his team each week.

By Jeffri Chadiha
ESPN.com


We definitely needed a win like this, coming back from a big halftime defecit. Not many teams in the NFL can do that, maintain their composure and come out and keep playing their style of football. Teams like the Bengals would've been cryin and whinin on the sidelines....big difference between us and teams like the Bungholes....We are winners!!!!!

NOVA STEELERS
11-12-2007, 11:27 AM
Great Read........... STEELERS showed alot of what they are about...... A WINNING FOOTBALL Team..... One game at a time, bring on the jets

black an gold 4 life
11-12-2007, 11:41 AM
YEA GREAT ARTICLE MIKE IS THE MAN, HE'S AN BEAST OF AN COACH,MAN U SHOULD HERE ALL THESE CRY BABIES CLOWNS:brownssuck::brownssuck::crybabyclowns::cryb abyclowns::crybabyclowns: PLAYERS AN FANS CRYING I'M GONNA WERE MY STEELER GEAR ALL THIS WEEK:bluelol::lol: WAY 2 MAKE ADJUSTMENTS DURING HALF TIME MIKE:steelerssign::steelersrocksign::gs:NOW WE HAVE 2 GOT 2 NY AN KICK THEM N THE AZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ,MAN DOESN'T IT FEEL GOOD 2 ROOT 4 THE STEELERS?:steelersrocksign::steelerssign::steelers sign::rockon:

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IT WAS ONLY TEN STEELERS FANS N THE BAR AMONGST 40 PLUS CLOWNS FANS, THEY RODE US 4, 3 AN A HALF QUARTERS,BUT WE HAD THE BEST AN FINAL LAUGH:lol::bluelol::banana::cope::tt02:

BlitzburghRockCity
11-12-2007, 12:23 PM
"We really aren't concerned with how our wins look at this time of year," said left tackle Marvel Smith. "We just want to keep putting together some victories so we can have some control over our destiny later this season."

That's exactly what I wanted to hear, these guys can't afford to do anything but look ahead to the next game. We know all too well as fans the players do from past experience that anybody can't be anybody on any given week so we need to focus on the Jets right now and go into the meadowlands and take care of business and get another win to keep this lead we have. Bring on the J-E-T-S because we're coming to ground them ! :woot:

AZ_Steeler
11-12-2007, 02:25 PM
If anything, all this game did was raise the confidence level of the team and make them realize they are never out of a game until that final whistle! Let em fly under the radar because those are the teams that can sneak up on the others and really cause havoc!

GoBenGo
11-12-2007, 04:50 PM
what a Game!:clap: I felt we would win , even as the first half was unfolding. It felt like it:yesnod:, we just had to put the plays together as Ben did. But that is the difference Ben and this team brings. I believed we would win:yesnod: , even in the first half, because of this offense, defense, and coach we have. This is a team that finds ways to win:tt02:. I am ashamed to say I haven't been able to feel like that way every year.:nono:
I sure believe in Ben , though.:bigthumb:
:banana:And Bens BBQ:greengrin::cope:!Dawn, fixed up a mess of pulled pork with it yesterday for the game, deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelicious! I hear there is a little bit o' Ben in every bottle.:lol:

snowman79
11-15-2007, 10:55 AM
What a game dont know how it was for you guys on that side of the pond but on this side i could only listen to the game and watch the N.F.L. scores screen update ( slowly). When we were down early i knew we needed something special to bring us back and there it was Big Ben's 30 YARD Rumble!! how awesome was that i swear those "clowns" secondary didnt want to tackle him Big Ben in full flight must be a scary sight for a defender.
That TD to me showed the true spirit of the whole team "No Surrender"

We showed everyone in the league what we are made of - PURE STEEL !!!!

Time to move on now and look ahead to the next game i keep saying it ----

:helmet: "BELIEVE PEOPLE" :helmet:

:tt02: WE ARE THE 1 AND ONLY PITTSBURGH STEELERS":tt02:

:gs::towelwave: HERE WE GO STEELERS, HERE WE GO !! :gs::towelwave:

BlitzburghRockCity
11-17-2007, 06:00 PM
I hate rebounding because that means we lost a game we probably shouldn't have lost so here's to not having to rebound anymore this year ! :beer2: :greengrin:

Whodat
11-18-2007, 10:55 AM
We definitely needed a win like this, coming back from a big halftime defecit. Not many teams in the NFL can do that, maintain their composure and come out and keep playing their style of football. Teams like the Bengals would've been cryin and whinin on the sidelines....big difference between us and teams like the Bungholes....We are winners!!!!!

Diesel - Great was a great article, however I disagree with your statement. Our team shows a lot of character to come back from 15 points. What we need is to shore up our kick return coverage. We won't be able to make up for the miscues against other teams in the league. I sure hope we see some improvement today!

BlitzburghNation
11-18-2007, 11:34 AM
I am definetly impressed with Big Bens QB play~~~:bigthumb:

Since we've drafted Ben,,,,,,, I cannot get that expression on his face Out of my head,when he was drafted outside the top 10 !

I bet those teams "NY and SD" wished they had the draft over again,,,,,,,,
Simple put we got a steal and a great QB for years to come :towelwave:

Stlrs4Life
11-18-2007, 12:25 PM
Great read. Let's keep it going!