Steelers look to rebound

  • By John Boyle Herald Writer
  • Friday, September 16, 2011 12:01am
  • Sports

RENTON — The Pittsburgh Steelers took a beating last weekend. One of the league’s best teams in recent years, the Steelers looked flawed and vulnerable. They were humiliated.

“We got beat like we stole something,” Steelers linebacker James Harrison said in a conference call.

And all of this is very bad news for the Seahawks, who play in Pittsburgh Sunday.

Who knows, had the Steelers won in Baltimore last weekend, there’s a chance that maybe, just maybe, they would have come into Sunday’s game less than 100 percent motivated against the Seahawks. But after absorbing a 35-7 loss to their biggest rivals, the Steelers will come into their home opener as a team looking for revenge.

“We’ll take all the edges we can get if you saw Sunday’s tape,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said in a conference call when asked if they’ll use that loss for motivation.

The common belief is that Seattle’s blowout loss in San Francisco was the first of many in what could be a down season. Few believe, however, that the Steelers are nearly as bad as they looked in the seven-turnover debacle in Baltimore.

“We know that they’ll be back, they’ll be hungry,” said Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. “They’ll be excited to face a new team and get back on track.”

And the assumption is that Pittsburgh will get back on track, which is why Vegas odds makers have made the Steelers two-touchdown favorites, a huge line for an NFL game. But just because the rest of the football world thinks the Seahawks will be a pushover, that feeling hasn’t made it into the Seahawks’ locker room. After all, the Seahawks also feel like they had a Week 1 letdown and are eager to make amends.

“I think that’s a real logical storyline to follow,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “… (But) I don’t think their locker room can feel any different than our locker room. We want to get a win in the worst way and so do they. So we’re going to hope to make the most of this.”

Of course it’s not a given that the Steelers will simply make the Seahawks a speed bump on their way to another playoff berth. As the Seahawks learned after an impressive run last decade, a team can go from its prime and rolling to old and struggling in a hurry. The smart money is on the Steelers recovering, but it is worth noting that nine of Pittsburgh’s 11 starters on defense are over the age of 30. The Steelers say age doesn’t matter. NFL history, however, begs to differ.

“That’s neither here nor there,” said Harrison, who at 33 is still younger than three starters on defense. “I mean, you hear that every year. It’s not like they say, ‘You know, that defense, their age is just right to succeed.’ It’s either you’re too young or you’re too old. So I don’t really pay any attention to it.”

But whether last week was a sign of struggles to come for the Steelers, or just a fluke performance in what will be another winning season, 35-7 still happened.

“We played poorly,” Tomlin said. “We analyzed our performance in there and we move forward to ready ourselves for the next one, but it doesn’t lessen the fact that that tape is out there and it’s out there forever. We understand that. We acknowledge that. We don’t necessarily like it, but that’s life in the NFL. We’re moving forward and preparing for our next opportunity.”

That next opportunity comes against Seattle on Sunday, which figures to be bad news for the Seahawks.

Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog

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