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fordfixer
09-18-2008, 12:08 AM
43 years later, Steelers looking to win in Philly
By ALAN ROBINSON
(Published September 17, 2008)
http://www.fortmilltimes.com/124/story/293949.html

PITTSBURGH In only a week's time, the Pittsburgh Steelers will go from playing in an opposing city where they almost never lose to one where they've never won. At least during the lifetime of any of their current players.

After beating the Cleveland Browns for the 10th consecutive time, the Steelers (2-0) travel across Pennsylvania on Sunday to play in Philadelphia (1-1) - a city where they haven't won in eight games or 43 years, or two stadiums ago for the Eagles.
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"Really? 1965? I wasn't even born yet," wide receiver Hines Ward said Wednesday. "What happens then, that's history. It's definitely going to be a challenge, there's no question."

Talk about ancient history. The Eagles played in Franklin Field in 1965; the Steelers never won any of their three regular season game in Veterans Stadium, during irregular appearances dictated by a now-abandoned NFL scheduling format in which AFC teams sometimes didn't play in NFC cities for years. They have yet to play in Lincoln Financial Field.

To these Steelers, the Eagles will be a difficult enough team to beat, regardless of their own franchise's terrible history in Philadelphia. Despite losing Monday night in Dallas, the Eagles are second in the NFL in scoring (37.5 points per game) and Donovan McNabb is second with 642 yards passing and DeSean Jackson is fourth in receiving with 216 yards.

Despite the Steelers' infrequent trips to Philadelphia and the number of fans they have in central and northeastern Pennsylvania, they expect the atmosphere in Philadelphia to be as anti-Steelers as it was Sunday night in Cleveland. There, the Steelers squeezed out one Ben Roethlisberger-to-Ward touchdown pass and a field goal on a rainy, windy Sunday night to win 10-6.

They are certain it will take many more points than that to beat the Eagles, who face a second important game in a seven-day span.

"It's going to be crazy in Philly. It's probably worse than in Cleveland; I think they don't like us more than Cleveland doesn't like us," running back Willie Parker said. "It's going to be a hostile environment and a physical game."

The Steelers have spent much of the week answering questions about quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's sore right shoulder - whether it is separated (technically it is, because the team's diagnosis of a sprained AC ligament is a mild separation) or if it isn't (as coach Mike Tomlin argues).

Roethlisberger flipped the ball in practice but did no intensive work, the same regimen he had the previous Wednesday. He is expected to go through a full practice by Friday.

The quarterback seems humored by all the attention being paid to an injury he believes is insignificant.

"I'm not sure where everything came from, but you know what? I'm not going to talk about it," he said. "It's not worth talking about. I'm healthy and we're going to go play football."

As Roethlisberger and linebacker Larry Foote said, almost no NFL player - unless he's not playing - is 100 percent healthy after the season opens.

"Sometimes when you're home watching TV, you get worried because you haven't seen Ben and you don't known the updates, and the first thing guys do when they come in and go to the training room is ask, 'Is Ben all right? Is Ben all right?' Then everybody says he's fine," Foote said.

Ward professed to being even less interested in his quarterback's injury than that.

"We're not worried about Ben's shoulder," Ward said. "As players, we know he's going to be there on Sunday. ... He's going to be ready and be well-prepared. It's really irrelevant to me (whether he's hurt). Only he knows he's hurt. We don't really care."

Notes:@ LG Chris Kemoeatu (ankle) did not practice, though he described the injury as minor. It may have been caused when 350-pound Browns defensive lineman Shaun Rogers rolled across it. ... LB LaMarr Woodley on how the Steelers will shut down McNabb's deep throwing: "We're going to go in there and we're going to put pressure on the quarterback. We're going to hit the quarterback a few times and, hopefully, he'll make some bad decisions." ... The Steelers may use both Nick Eason and Orpheus Roye to replace injured DE Brett Keisel. ... DB Troy Polamalu doesn't believe he deserved his AFC defensive player of the week award. Polamalu had a key interception late in the first half in Cleveland and made four tackles.