If the Lions intend to win at Pittsburgh for the first time since 1955, the Steelers don’t plan to just let them.
At this time of year, the Steelers usually are the contenders and the Lions often are playing out the string. This time, the roles are reversed — and the Lions will be rolling into town with a reputation for chippy play that at times crosses the line.
“We’re definitely not going to get bullied,” Sanders said Thursday, via Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “That’s not going to happen around here. Nobody is going to bully no one around here.
“As far as matching their intensity, we’re definitely going to match their intensity. No one is going to walk over us.”
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has bigger concerns, even if he articulated them in jest.
“Yeah, you have to be careful,” Roethlisberger said regarding the prospect of playing the Lions. “You’ll end up dead if you’re not careful.” (That advice also applies to riding a motorcycle without a helmet.)
“I guess I can take that somewhat as a compliment,” Suh said in response, via Robinson. “But no, there’s going to be no killing on Sunday.”
If it was a compliment, that’s where the compliments ended.
“Everyone knows who’s the dirtiest player in the league right now,” Sanders said regarding Suh. “He takes pride in that. He takes pride in being one of the dirtiest players because, on defense, you’ve got to have to have that mentality. But we’re not going to get bullied.”
Setting aside the fact that the term “bullied” seems a little awkward and misplaced given recent events in Miami, Sanders is projecting precisely the kind of mindset that has characterized the Steelers for the last four decades. This year, however, the spirit may have remained willing, but the flesh has become quite weak.
As a result, Sunday’s game will be a good test of whether the Steelers really still are the Steelers.