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Steelers stay on track for playoff bye

Ben Roethlisberge

The Steelers got a rare win without Troy Polamalu in the lineup Thursday night.   Get one more win, and Pittsburgh will get a their fourth first round playoff bye in the last ten years.

Pittsburgh destroyed Carolina 27-3 in a game that was over by halftime.  This is what quality teams should do when they host the worst team in the league on a short week.  Even if it wasn’t always pretty, the Steelers got the job done just like they have most of the season.

It’s easy to take Pittsburgh’s 11-4 record for granted.  It’s also easy to forget that this was a team widely predicted to come in second in their division or miss the playoffs entirely.   They went 3-1 with backup quarterbacks and have survived losing two starting tackles.  They learned to play without their second most valuable defensive player (Aaron Smith).

Almost everything changes in the NFL, but the Steelers defense is a constant.  They were already first in the league in points allowed before shutting down the Panthers.  They were third in total defense before holding Carolina to a pathetic 119 offensive yards.

The Steelers now have 10 days off until their season finale against the Browns.  Win that game, and they get another two weeks off before a home playoff game.  By then, Polamalu and Smith should be back in the mix.  Roethlisberger will be healthier.

The regular season is about survival and positioning.  This isn’t a perfect Steelers team, but their last two championship squads had flaws too.

After 16 weeks, the Steelers are just where they want to be.

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34 Responses to “Steelers stay on track for playoff bye”
  1. Bubby Brister says: Dec 23, 2010 11:55 PM

    I couldn’t have said it better myself, Rosenthal! Great post.

  2. goldsteel says: Dec 23, 2010 11:55 PM

    North Carolina’s defense played better than the score suggests. Carolina is going to get a really good draft pick. So it ain’t all bad.

    GO STEELERS!

  3. redguy12588 says: Dec 24, 2010 12:08 AM

    Them haters, what are they gonna do?

    (They gonna hate).

  4. redguy12588 says: Dec 24, 2010 12:14 AM

    But seriously, good win by the Steelers, one week closer to fielding a healthy team.

  5. cup1981 says: Dec 24, 2010 12:18 AM

    This weekend will be one of the few, in my 29 years of being a Steeler fan, that I will be rooting for the Browns… :)

    How bout them Steelers absolutely imposing their will on the Panthers. That was impressive, lets ride that energy into the playoffs!

  6. walletweb says: Dec 24, 2010 12:56 AM

    Damnit Gregg, stop with the “continue reading” links! Are you getting paid by the page view?

    I skip any article with your name under the headline because clicking over disrupts the whole flow of how I read this site.

  7. laxer37 says: Dec 24, 2010 12:59 AM

    I think that game I just watched WAS a bye for the Steelers.

  8. kelvinmchale says: Dec 24, 2010 1:42 AM

    Constant? How’d that defense look against the Patriots? That’s what I thought.

  9. steelersfbfan says: Dec 24, 2010 2:18 AM

    All I want for Christmas is a Ravens loss and another super bowl! That is not too much to ask!

  10. iluvwikileaks says: Dec 24, 2010 5:33 AM

    GO STEELERS!!

  11. chucknoll says: Dec 24, 2010 6:24 AM

    Dam Rite!

  12. joerevs300 says: Dec 24, 2010 6:50 AM

    After seeing the Steelers utterly collapse last season, it is nice to see they are taking care of business.

    Cleveland, for one weekend you have all of Steeler Nation behind you. And let’s face it, I think the players know that Mangini is gone if they don’t run the table. So I expect Cleveland to give its best performance of the season. Will that be enough against Baltimore? Hard to say.

  13. youaretheworst1 says: Dec 24, 2010 7:28 AM

    Yeah but they stink against good teams… NE, NY, should have lost to Bills & MIA. Just sayin. Don’t get mad…

  14. jimmysee says: Dec 24, 2010 8:20 AM

    Note to Packers:

    “This is what quality teams should do when they host the worst team in the league on a short week.”

  15. habsman says: Dec 24, 2010 8:21 AM

    The Steelers are a tough well coached, talented team. Hope to see them and the Pats in the conference finals.

  16. joetoronto says: Dec 24, 2010 8:24 AM

    Wow, the Steelers offense scored 27 points last night, against the Panthers.

    What have they done against good defenses though?

    Not much at all.

    They really need Polamalu back, because without him, the defense looks very average and scoring 10-15 points against playoff teams just won’t cut it.

  17. diemondeck says: Dec 24, 2010 8:29 AM

    And yet the Jets went out there and beat them tough just last week

    but you’ll never hear these pft people give them any credit

  18. donterrelli says: Dec 24, 2010 8:33 AM

    “After 16 weeks, the Steelers are just where they want to be.”

    —-

    Until they have to face the Patriots again.

  19. diemondeck says: Dec 24, 2010 8:45 AM

    ^^ or the jets

  20. redguy12588 says: Dec 24, 2010 8:52 AM

    Oh Jets fans, you’re so funny. Do you really want a rematch when the Steelers will have Polamalu, Heath Miller, and Aaron Smith back?

    I doubt it.

  21. mempusa says: Dec 24, 2010 9:08 AM

    Attention Steeler Fans:

    You’ll be knocked out of the playoffs in your first game

    Thanks,

    Memp!

  22. holeinone09 says: Dec 24, 2010 9:16 AM

    Great game last night. We needed to give a butt-kicking and that is what happened. Carolina is a bad team with a few very good players. The Steelers should have pounded them, and they did. Nice. The game was not as close as even the score showed. Should have had several more TD’s. Too bad that Sanders didn’t hold onto the end zone catch and they got greedy in the red zone later as well. They didn’t need those points, but it was really good to see offense play with more of a killer instinct the entire game. Ben had a superb game for the most part. He is without a doubt the toughest QB in the league. If he had Brady’s offensive line, he would be putting up numbers that would boggle peoples’ minds.

    Yes, the Steelers are where they want to be right now. The goal is to make the playoffs, where anything can happen. Troy will be ready, and Aaron Smith might also be ready. The Steelers are THE team that nobody really wants to play. The Ravens may be a close second in that category. The Pats fans, who continue to bask in the results of the first game, had better quit pounding their chests and pay attention to their own upcoming business. The last game is over. My Christmas wish is that the Steelers get the opportunity to meet the Pats in the post-season. Just give us one more chance to play the supposedly best team in football. One more chance to blitz the heck out of Brady instead of trying to cover his 5 yard passes like they did the last time and giving him too much time to find open receivers. IMO Brady cannot take the pass rush like Ben can. Brady can’t move around and make plays happen like Ben can. That will be the difference in the next meeting. LeBeau will adjust and attack.

    GO STEELERS!!

  23. ytsejamer1 says: Dec 24, 2010 9:16 AM

    I agree with an above post…i hate the continue reading. Knock it off…

    But as for the Steelers…yeah, they are beating the bad teams and looking impressive, but don’t show up against better teams outside of their division. The Jets took it to them and the Pats opened a can on them… Beating the Ravens doesn’t impress me as much.

    But nonetheless, they are doing what they’re supposed to…but I don’t think they will scare anyone in the playoffs. As a Pats guy, I fear Colts and even moreso, the Chargers.

  24. steeltownpride says: Dec 24, 2010 9:45 AM

    None one is scared of the Jets lol . Bad calls won you the game against the Steelers . Nothing else !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! . Pats i give credit where credit is due . You whipped our ass . But lets see how the playoffs go . YOu all know eventually the STeelers are going to beat them . Would you rather lose to the Steelers in the regular season or AFC championship game ?

  25. heyzeus143 says: Dec 24, 2010 10:09 AM

    the jets cannot beat the steelers again, Troy might have 3 picks on one of those Sanchize lollipop throws, the pats well they’re a very solid team but hey the steelers beat a seemingly unbeatable colts team one year in the playoffs, really hope we see the high school team jets again and those snobby bahstonians in succession, warden Hazen Roger goodell must go! go steelers!

  26. wycoff says: Dec 24, 2010 10:09 AM

    “ytsejamer1 says:
    Dec 24, 2010 9:16 AM

    The Jets took it to them and the Pats opened a can on them”

    The Pats opened a can, but the Jets did not “take it to them.” The Jets won because of fluky special teams and because the Steelers D was adjusting to playing without Polamalu (plus the Jets DBs were given free reign to grab any Steelers WR ). Even without Polamalu, the Steelers would beat the Jets 8 time out of 10.

    The only AFC Playoff team that I, as a Steelers fan, fear is the Patriots. I’m not worried about the rest. If the Steelers play the Jets, the Steelers’ D will stuff them in every hole (much to the delight of Rex Ryan).

  27. wycoff says: Dec 24, 2010 10:13 AM

    To put things in perspective, the Panther’s D gave the Steeler’s crappy O-line more trouble than the Jet’s D did.

  28. steelerdynasty2010 says: Dec 24, 2010 10:14 AM

    youaretheworst1:
    guess we arent one of ATL’s two losses. and i guess that wasnt really us who went INTO Bmore and beat the Ravens. and i’d say the jets game was pretty winnable, but maybe you’d beg to differ.
    holeinone09:
    if that’s going to be our strategy, i’d love to see the pats again as well. if we are going to try that passive BS, then i’d rather not see the game at all because i know how it will turn out.
    steeltownpride:
    dont blame the bad calls (we’re better than that), they happen in every game and sometimes we benefit, sometimes we dont. we played, we lost, but we still aint scared. could’ve easily gone the other way and probably will with Troy and Aaron back in the mix.

  29. wtf2812 says: Dec 24, 2010 10:20 AM

    @kelvinmcchale …. How did that Patriots’ defense (and offense) look against the Browns? that’s what i thought. In short, sometimes stuff happens.

    @ytsejamer1 … You better fear the Colts and Chargers because you will probably get one of them in the first in the playoffs. I’m sure the Steelers respect the Patriots, but they don’t fear them. Good luck, son.

  30. righthereisay says: Dec 24, 2010 10:24 AM

    A win at Cleveland is definitely not as easy as it used to be. I’m really hoping Cleveland beats the Ravens this Sunday so we can just get healthy next week.

    Bruce Arians will make sure our offense doesn’t do much in the post season.

  31. commoncents says: Dec 24, 2010 11:10 AM

    At full strength, the Steelers are pretty good but this article came out of a can. Carolina is horrible and the Steeler D looked only average when losing to the Jets at home two weeks ago. Give praise where praise is due. Raving about the Steelers after last nights win is kind of silly.

  32. masteel says: Dec 24, 2010 11:47 AM

    a Win is a Win, and the Steelers put themselves in position for a potential first round bye. all good

    Last night I liked seeing Ben distribute the ball, H. Miller coming back with good catches, M. Wallace being used in intermediate routes for yards, and Mendenhall’s running – quick decision and hitting holes.

    Didn’t like Ben holding ball too long again, the Special Teams giving up field position on the Kick offs still, and Mewelde getting hurt!!??? darn it.

    the Playoffs will bring a whole new set of opportunites and challenges – GO Steelers

  33. masteel says: Dec 24, 2010 12:06 PM

    And for interested Steeler fans – Ryan Clark has not been fined for his hit on B. Edwards from the Jets game.

    THAT means it was a clean hit, and it should not have resulted in a flag/foul – or the 15 + yards for the Jets on that drive (which we all know led to a TD).

  34. ohnomrbill says: Dec 24, 2010 1:26 PM

    everybody expecting the Pats to waltz in. wasn’t the Patriot emblem designated the international sign for choking after a recent super bowl?

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