Tuesday, October 03, 2006
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Their flat-screens filled with their next opponent as the Steelers yesterday began preparations for their game in San Diego. Players and coaches flipped on the game tape of the San Diego Chargers from Sunday, yet they could not help avoid the other team on their big screens.
The Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens, who have been the Steelers' most-heated rivals for almost a decade, look as if they are over the hard times that left them 6-10 last season, their second in a row out of the playoffs. Baltimore beat San Diego, 16-13, and has shot to the top of the AFC North with a 4-0 record, 21/2 games ahead of the 1-2 defending Super Bowl champions.
"They're off to a great start," said defensive end Brett Keisel. "Everyone wants to start 4-0."
The good news from Sunday for the Steelers is that two teams are not 4-0 in their division; Cincinnati slipped to 3-1 after losing to New England at home. But as they head to San Diego, the Steelers know that they cannot let things get away from them early as they try to defend their NFL title.
"I feel like we have more of a sense of urgency because we're 1-2 and Baltimore's winning," linebacker James Farrior said. "Cincinnati lost, but they already beat us. It's not time to push the panic button, but we have to pick it up. We don't want to try to dig ourselves out of a hole this time."
The Steelers returned to work after three days off on their off weekend and found themselves not only in third place but only half a game ahead of the Cleveland Browns, who have finished last in the North Division the past three years.
"It's going to be tough to win this division," Farrior said. "You have three solid teams, and Cleveland's no slouch."