View Full Version : Steelers aren't in unchartered waters

10-11-2006, 12:18 AM

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Bill Cowher does not want to look back, not to the first four games of this season, and certainly not back to last season, no matter how successful that was. Perhaps, though, it's time for him to retell a story, one he pulled out when his Steelers lost three in a row in 2005 to slip to 7-5.

He gathered his team together and told them about the daunting task of Christopher Columbus, who set sail from Spain for a new world in 1492. He reminded his players that doubters and cynics warned Columbus the world was flat, that instead of finding a new world, his ships would sail off the edge of the old one.

Cowher then said they were about to embark on a trip that no one had ever accomplished. No team ever went on the road for three playoff games and then won a Super Bowl.

The Steelers now are 1-3 and embark on another difficult trip, except this one would not be unprecedented. Since 1990, 19 teams started 1-3 and reached the playoffs, including the Bears last season and the Steelers in 2002. Even five teams that started 1-4 since 1990 have made the playoffs.

The Steelers put their boats back in the water Sunday at Heinz Field against Kansas City, searching for something they have not experienced in more than a month.

"We just have to go out there and win a football game," Cowher declared yesterday. "I don't want to get paralysis by analysis. It really is no simpler than that."

To do that, Cowher believes his team needs a closer -- not an individual but a group effort that can save games when the Steelers have a lead. Cowher's teams have been the best in history at closing out games when they have a lead of more than 10 points. His record is 100-1-1 in such situations. But the Steelers have blown second-half leads in each of their past two games and let a 10-0 advantage slip away Sunday night in San Diego.

"I look at the last three games where we've been in a position to win these games in the fourth quarter," Cowher said. "We just have not been able to finish it."

He does not believe in the theory of a Super Bowl hangover, even if 11 of the 39 champions previous to the Steelers' recent title victory did not make the playoffs the following year. The most recent was Tampa Bay, which followed its title with a 7-9 record in 2003. Other than San Francisco's 3-6 record in the strike season of 1982, the team with the worst record the season after winning a Super Bowl was Denver, which went 6-10 in 1999. But Denver also lost quarterback John Elway to retirement that year. The Steelers lost just three starters from last year's team.

"All the other speculation about handling the year after a Super Bowl or how a team is playing you or can you get back because you did it a year ago -- that was a year ago," Cowher said. "We're dealing with right now. And right now, the reality is that we are not finishing and closing games."

Cowher did not try to whitewash his team's predicament. He did note that the three losses came to good teams.

"I think we're doing some good things and, in some respects, we've taken a step forward each and every week. But we've got to do it in all three phases, we've got to be able to do it for 60 minutes and we've got to be able to finish games. That's the simple facts of where we are."

It does not sound as if he will pull out the Columbus story anytime soon, though.

"I don't think there's any magic potion you can give to them or any magic word you can say other than realizing where you are, why we are where we are and, more importantly, what we have to do this week.

"History will not dictate the future. History will not influence what happens in the future."

I don't care what motivation they use to get themselves back on track, as long as they do it. Definately no magic potion, just hard work and determination.

10-11-2006, 01:30 AM
We are far from out of the playoff race but the team needs to play with more intensity! Everyone is out to beat us and we need to be ready for that. So far I haven't seen it from the Steelers.

10-11-2006, 03:19 PM
IMO, this game will tell all. For two weeks we've had "It's not time to panic yet, we still have alot of games ahead of us". I agree completely, but if and I say if painfully, we lose this game, we are in for a long season. maybe 8-8!

10-11-2006, 04:51 PM
This week is a must win

10-11-2006, 05:11 PM
Every week BC keeps saying it's not time to panic, we're still early in the season, we can do this and that..but sooner or later the time has to come to just win a game, that time is now.

10-11-2006, 05:20 PM
This week is a must win

In every meaning of the phrase!

10-11-2006, 05:35 PM
We're almost at the point where every game is a must win...we can't afford to lose more than a couple more games period if we want a shot at the playoffs.

10-11-2006, 06:31 PM
Cowher called the team into watch film on Monday, even after a long flight home from CA, and this was a first for him.
http://news.steelers.com/article/70098/ (Apologies if this was posted before)

This doesn't seem like the actions of a coach who doesn't care or isn't fired up to win. We are close...a bad play here that doesn't happen, a dropped ball there that we don't drop and "Poof!" we are 2-2 or even 3-1 instead of 1-3. Unfortunately, the schedule didn't really let up much on us...we could have really used a game against the Raiders last week, instead of trying to get an offense back on track against arguably the best D in the NFL on their turf.

I'm hoping for a big win against KC this week. Their defense is a little suspect, and their O isn't what it used to be, especially with Trent Green still out. I will say this, though...if the Steelers lose this week, I fear this season is lost. If you can't beat mediocre competition on your home field with your back against the wall, you aren't going to win many football games in the NFL.

10-11-2006, 07:43 PM
We will right the ship this week. Ben will come around. The D will shutdown KC. The special teams that worries me. This is the week we get things going in the right direction.

10-11-2006, 09:39 PM
The state of mind of this team needs to be "take no prisoners". We need to get up on them just completely dominate every phase of the game..but at this point I'll settle for a W anyway we can get it to help springboard us back into competition.

10-12-2006, 12:29 PM
The KC game is one the Steelers should win... It is definitely starting to get to that must win situation, but as long as the Steelers get some help along the way everything will be fine.

The Steelers made the playoffs in 02 with the same record so they can do it again! :tt02: