On the Steelers: Humbled team singing a redemption song
Tight end Heath Miller loses control of a pass from Ben Roethlisberger in the Steelers' 35-7 loss Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. "There'd be something wrong if we don't expect more from ourselves," Miller said.
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Nothing looms more inviting to the Steelers than the game Sunday at Heinz Field, where they not only play the Seattle Seahawks but also where they believe they can bury their performance in the first game of the season in Baltimore.
"I wouldn't kick any dirt on us," defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said. "We'll be back. We'll be back."
There was little of redeeming value from their 35-7 thumping in Baltimore on offense or defense, and players and coaches from both sides are eager for a second chance.
"There'd be something wrong if we don't expect more from ourselves," tight end Heath Miller said. "We obviously didn't play our best."
Some of them thought they traveled to Baltimore either too cocky or not ready to match the kind of emotion the Ravens brought to one of football's fiercest rivalries.
"We came out thinking like we were AFC champs," offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said, "and they were obviously [upset] since February, and we didn't match that. It was real obvious."
Said defensive end Aaron Smith, "I really think we didn't play with emotion -- it's an emotional game -- and Baltimore did."
The thoroughness of Baltimore's domination in the opener -- Troy Polamalu called it a well-deserved dose of humility -- has caused many to re-evaluate whether the Steelers are candidates to return to a third Super Bowl in four years. Former NFL defensive lineman Warren Sapp, on "Inside the NFL" on Showtime, called the Steelers defense "old, slow and it's over" this week.
"Warren is acting like he's the first person to say that to us," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "We've been hearing that for a long time. I don't think we're old, I don't think we're slow, I don't think we're done. But that's up to us. We have to go out and prove that."
Said LeBeau: "It's like the guy who got up and said this could be the last day of my life. Sooner or later you're going to be right."
NFL teams set a record with 7,842 passing yards in the first week of the season, more than any other week in league history. The Steelers did not contribute much to that with 246 net passing yards, many of those negated by seven turnovers on offense against Baltimore.
"I was shocked by our lack of [production] because of how well we had been playing to that point," Arians said.
He expects more production Sunday against Seattle, but did not sound as eager to go to the no-huddle offense as was quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a day earlier. Roethlisberger said no concessions would be made for rookie right tackle Marcus Gilbert, making his first start. Arians intimated there would be.
"We have a rookie right tackle who's never been in and going to be starting. There's a lot of variables that go into whether we use it.
"I think he'll play fine, as long as we stay in his comfort zone and don't put him in a situation where he's only got two seconds to think of a play instead of 10 while he's breaking the huddle and coming up there."
The Steelers reported for another day of practice Thursday morning, but one did not show -- newly signed practice squad member, tight end Dorin Dickerson. The no-show had his teammates buzzing. After he did not show, the Steelers re-signed Jamie McCoy, a fullback/tight end who was released Monday to make room for Dickerson. A team spokesman said later that Dickerson was hurt. ... Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring) did not practice again Thursday after missing the opener. Cornerback Bryant McFadden (hamsring) and guard Chris Kemoeatu (knee) were limited in practice. Cornerback Curtis Brown (ankle) returned to a full practice.
Thanks to the Seattle Seahawks, tickets are still available to the game Sunday at Heinz Field.
After getting returns from the Seahawks ticket allotment, the Steelers have made those limited number of tickets available for the game at 1 p.m. To purchase tickets, go to www.ticketmaster.com or call 1-800-745-3000. The prices range from $68 to $86.
First Published September 16, 2011 12:00 am