Steelers Column

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The Steelers 22-17 loss to the Jets was one of the most exciting games of the NFL season, but unfortunately ended in heartbreaking fashion for the Pittsburgh faithful.  It was a well-played game, with zero turnovers and hard-hitting defenses.  Rashard Mendenhall had 100 yards rushing behind the offensive line that played arguably their best game of the season, and Ben Roethlisberger passed for 264 yards despite not having one of his favorite targets Heath Miller (concussion) available.  The Steelers defense only gave up 20 points, as the other two came on a safety, without their biggest asset Troy Polamalu (Achilles tendon), and as a team was only penalized three times.  The point is, the Steelers are still a very good team and are going to be successful in their immediate future if they continue to play in such a fashion. 

There is no need for any fans to jump off a bridge over this loss.  In fact, even with the loss, the Steelers did successfully clinch a playoff spot and still control their own destiny to win the AFC North Division.  All they have to do is beat the 2-12 Carolina Panthers and 5-9 Cleveland Browns in their last two regular season games in order to win the division and gain what would most likely be the #2 seed and a first-round bye. 

The team will have to overcome a little adversity though, with the injury of Polamalu and a short week of practice.  Due to the ice construction in preparation for the upcoming Winter Classic at Heinz Field, the Steelers final regular season home game against the Panthers will be played this Thursday Night.  That means that the team only has three days off between games and won’t have much time to practice or scout out the opponent.  It also most likely means that Troy Polamalu will once again remained sidelined with little time to recover, though Heath Miller is expected back onto the field.  No matter who is in or out, the Steelers know how important a first-round bye and home field advantage is in the playoffs, so don’t expect them to slip up on either of these two bottom dwellers.