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Iron Shiek
10-06-2008, 08:53 AM
This James Walker guy writes for ESPN but he's a Cleveland/Columbus dude...good read.



http://myespn.go.com/blogs/afcnorth/0-0-459/Time-to-put-Steelers-among-NFL-s-elite.html



Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Overcoming a perennial nemesis is rarely an easy task, especially on the road. But a resilient Pittsburgh Steelers team found a way Sunday night with a hard-fought, 26-21 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Despite numerous injuries that stemmed from three consecutive physical contests, a shorthanded Pittsburgh team came into Jacksonville Municipal Stadium with no excuses and grinded out its biggest win this season.

The Jaguars, winners of their four previous meetings with Pittsburgh, had the Steelers' number. Jacksonville swept Pittsburgh in two games last season, including a playoff win at Heinz Field.

But on this night, the Steelers had just enough resolve and depth to get over the hump as they head into a much-needed bye week at 4-1.

Here are three things we learned about Pittsburgh in the process:

1. The Steelers are deep

Backup running back Mewelde Moore led Pittsburgh in rushing with 99 yards.


Fernando Medina/US Presswire
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 309 yards and three touchdowns Sunday night.
Backup receiver Nate Washington led the Steelers with 94 receiving yards, including a 48-yard touchdown catch.

Backup defensive linemen Chris Hoke, Orpheus Roye, Travis Kirschke played productive and significant snaps as replacements for Brett Keisel (calf), Casey Hampton (groin) and Nick Eason (groin).

Notice the trend?

"We have some guys that can definitely step up and play," Washington said of the reserves. "Coach always instills in us that our level of expectations is not going to change. No matter who's in there, he's going to play just the same as the guy that's played all season."

2. Big Ben ready to go no-huddle

Ben Roethlisberger came into the NFL five seasons ago as a "caretaking" rookie quarterback and gradually developed into one of the top signal-callers.

Now it's time for Roethlisberger to take the next step of completely owning his offense, and that includes running the no-huddle during the course of the game.

Only a handful of teams and quarterbacks can do it successfully. At times against the Jags, Roethlisberger excelled at calling his own plays and running the team at the line of scrimmage.

The idea came to fruition by force last week against the Baltimore Ravens. Although Roethlisberger had clamored to go no-huddle before, it took numerous poor offensive performances this season before head coach Mike Tomlin and coordinator Bruce Arians finally gave their quarterback the keys to the unit.

The no-huddle attack has given the Steelers an added dimension against opponents. After sputtering early, Pittsburgh has scored 46 points in the past seven quarters (including overtime) since experimenting with the no-huddle against the Ravens in the second half.

Roethlisberger's eyes seem to light up with the opportunity when he has full control.

"It was great," Roethlisberger said. "You have to give a lot of credit to those guys up front, the tight ends, receivers, everybody. We ran the no-huddle almost the whole time without even using the count and without me even talking -- really ... It's always fun."

3. It's time to consider Pittsburgh among the elite

Week 5 was a telling weekend in the NFL.

After several close victories against mostly mediocre teams, the Buffalo Bills (4-1) showed their true colors Sunday with a blowout loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

The San Diego Chargers (2-3) are proving that talent isn't everything.

The Dallas Cowboys (4-1) showed a lot of flaws in a Week 4 loss to the Washington Redskins and even in a victory Sunday over the Cincinnati Bengals.

As other top-flight teams are falling down a rung or two, it's time to begin putting the Steelers in the conversation as one of the elite squads. Pittsburgh is not perfect, but the Steelers have been more consistent than many other teams this season.

The Steelers are 2-0 at home and a solid 2-1 on the road this year. After playing and proving it can win shorthanded the past two weeks, Pittsburgh should come back healthy and near full strength when it plays the Cincinnati Bengals (0-5) on Oct. 19.

"I think with every experience that we share, we're learning about ourselves and each other," Tomlin said. "We don't have a preconceived notion about who we are or what we're going to be. We're just living [in the moment], and they just lived it tonight. Hopefully this experience will strengthen us and bring us closer together. I'm sure it will."

BigBen2112
10-06-2008, 08:58 AM
More consistent than many other team this season?!

That seems a little over the top to me.

frankthetank1
10-06-2008, 09:00 AM
More consistent than many other team this season?!

That seems a little over the top to me.

more consistent than many not every other team. i dont think that is too ridiculous. other than the eagle game they have been pretty consistent. well maybe not the offense, but defense and st's have been

BigBen2112
10-06-2008, 09:02 AM
More consistent than many other team this season?!

That seems a little over the top to me.

more consistent than many not every other team. i dont think that is too ridiculous. other than the eagle game they have been pretty consistent. well maybe not the offense, but defense and st's have been

Im scared for our D though.

Up until last game they had spent a TON of time on the field...I hope they dont wear down by the end of the year.

Oviedo
10-06-2008, 09:03 AM
More consistent than many other team this season?!

That seems a little over the top to me.

Other than the Giants, what team would you consider more consistent? Dallas? Redskins? Chargers? Colts?

We may not be #1, but you can't argue we aren't top 5 right now.

frankthetank1
10-06-2008, 09:05 AM
More consistent than many other team this season?!

That seems a little over the top to me.

more consistent than many not every other team. i dont think that is too ridiculous. other than the eagle game they have been pretty consistent. well maybe not the offense, but defense and st's have been

Im scared for our D though.

Up until last game they had spent a TON of time on the field...I hope they dont wear down by the end of the year.

that is true. they didnt do well in terms of time of possesion in either the eagle or raven game, but they couldnt run the ball in either game which is a lot of the reason the defense was on the field for so long. that and because both baskett and mason had career games.

BigBen2112
10-06-2008, 09:09 AM
More consistent than many other team this season?!

That seems a little over the top to me.

Other than the Giants, what team would you consider more consistent? Dallas? Redskins? Chargers? Colts?

We may not be #1, but you can't argue we aren't top 5 right now.

Depends on how our offense plays. If our offense plays more like they did for 3 straight games than the team that showed up this week against the Jags then we're in huge trouble.

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
10-06-2008, 10:29 AM
It is a bit unusual this year that through 5 weeks there does not seem to be one or two teams that are slearly above the pack. There is no New England, Indy that seems so far ahead of everyone else that the whole season seems to revolve around whether or not anyone can knock them off.

Right now the Giants are probably considered the best team, but they are by no means way ahead of the rest of the league. Dallas was talked about that way up until 2 weeks ago, but a loss and a close game against the Bengals shut that talk up. How about the undefeated Titans? They haven't seemed to capture the spotlight yet. 4-1 Carolina? They are without that big, impressive, defining win yet.

I wouldn't call us an elite team, but I don't think that there is an elite team out there this year. However, there are probably about 8 teams that are near the top and we are one of them.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
10-06-2008, 11:54 AM
It is a bit unusual this year that through 5 weeks there does not seem to be one or two teams that are slearly above the pack. There is no New England, Indy that seems so far ahead of everyone else that the whole season seems to revolve around whether or not anyone can knock them off.

Right now the Giants are probably considered the best team, but they are by no means way ahead of the rest of the league. Dallas was talked about that way up until 2 weeks ago, but a loss and a close game against the Bengals shut that talk up. How about the undefeated Titans? They haven't seemed to capture the spotlight yet. 4-1 Carolina? They are without that big, impressive, defining win yet.

I wouldn't call us an elite team, but I don't think that there is an elite team out there this year. However, there are probably about 8 teams that are near the top and we are one of them.

:Agree Let's just grind out one W at a time, and let the pundits talk about elite, etc.

papillon
10-06-2008, 12:39 PM
With no real clear dominating team just getting to the playoffs gives every team that makes it to the dance a chance, at least, that's the way it appears up to this point in the season.

It doesn't look like there will be any heavy favorite to win the season ending single elimination tournament.

Papillon

ikestops85
10-07-2008, 10:04 AM
I don't want us to be considered "elite" .... yet. I would love for that tag to be applied to the steelers in week 17 and then every week afterwards until the start of next season. :tt1

costanza2k1
10-07-2008, 12:33 PM
While I like the respect the team gets my opinion is only one team should be called the elite one, that's the one that wins it all. We've all been through too many seasons where we were 'elite' to end up losing it all in the championship games. At that time I never thought we would have a defense like that again, the current defense is proving me wrong.

AngryAsian
10-07-2008, 01:02 PM
As it was last year, the NFC East will be sending three teams to the post season. They should rename that division "THE NFC BEAST." Far and away the strongest division in the league. What Zorn has put together for Snyder is amazing. Giants and Dallas look to continue their romp through their respective schedules, both having some insane depth. We're 0-1 thus far against "The Beast." It would be nice to finish 3-1.