Steelers’ players are no doubt disappointed about Sunday night’s 13-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field, which put them two games behind in the division, but there is no time to dwell on it with two AFC North games in the upcoming weeks.
“Everybody is positive about moving forward,” said cornerback Keenan Lewis. “We can’t get down on one game, even though it was a significant game. We have to push through. We have more games to come.
“We know we can’t get too far behind those guys. We’ve got to try to win this division. That will help us in the playoff race. We know that. They are two games up right now and we have to win out.”
They will attempt to start doing that this Sunday on the road against the Cleveland Browns. The Browns are 2-8 overall and 1-3 in the division, but Lewis knows the Browns will bring their “A” game this week.
“It’s real important to win this division game,” said Lewis. “Those guys have been playing extremely hard and well even though their record doesn’t match up. They are a great football team and we know that. They are going to come out and give everything they have and we have to be ready to go.”
That shouldn’t be hard for Lewis, whose play has continually picked up since he became a starter at the beginning of the season.
“I am starting to see my play get better,” said Lewis. “Having an opportunity to be out there more and recognize different schemes and adjust to the speed of different offenses has helped me out this year a lot.”
Lewis’ development showed against the Ravens, when he finished with 10 tackles, one for a loss, and broke up two passes.
“Each week is definitely a new learning experience,” said Lewis. “You are going against a new offense and new coordinators and they like to do different things with different schemes. Every week I have to watch film and try to get better.”
One area Lewis knows improvement is needed to be in the mix in the division is creating turnovers. Despite holding the Ravens offense scoreless, limiting Ray Rice to only 40 yards rushing and Joe Flacco to 164 yards passing, the defense didn’t create any turnovers.
“We know we have to create turnovers,” said Lewis. “We have to try to find a way to put points on the board in games like that, when it’s close in a race like that. We have to find a way to not let them put points on the board, even if it’s field goals. We have to get turnovers.”
Tags: Keenan Lewis
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Enjoying a four-course meal at an upscale restaurant is not something that happens often for inner city school students, but on Monday night it did for some football players from Perry Traditional Academy, part of the Pittsburgh Public School system, thanks to the efforts of Steelers Chris Carter and Jonathan Dwyer.
The high school players took part in a mentoring session that Carter and Dwyer hosted at Capital Grille in Pittsburgh, rewarding them for their achievements on and off the field and providing them encouragement to continue to become better individuals and athletes.
“It was for kids from the inner city schools who might not be as privileged as others,” said Carter. “I grew up like that so it hits home with me. They are going through some things and sometimes they don’t have the resources or the people to talk to, sometimes you don’t know anybody who is in the situation where you want to be.
“Growing up I had big dreams to be in the NFL but I didn’t have anybody to talk to. I remember how much I would have appreciated someone mentoring me, giving me advice and guidance. That is what we are trying to do, help these kids by talking about relationships, family, school and dedication to their sport. All of that is necessary to get to this level and contribute to their success. We want to give them something to think about.”
Dwyer and Carter let the young men ask them whatever questions they wanted, and they were able to answer them from someone who was once in their shoes.
“It was an opportunity for us to spend time with kids who look up to us for guidance and want a role model to help them,” said Dwyer. “It was a chance for us to give advice to these kids. I wish I would have had the opportunity to meet guys at the level I am playing at to get their advice and sit down and meet with them and get that extra edge to live my dream as well.”
While they shared the hard work and dedication it took to get to where they are today, the players were also forthcoming sharing some of the pitfalls along the way, assuring them that while you might stumble, you can always get back up again.
“We opened up and let them know we are normal people and you just have to work hard to get to where you are,” said Carter. “But the biggest thing is them understanding we made plenty of mistakes and you can rebound from them. You are never stuck in a situation, you can always get out. Coach (Mike) Tomlin tells us all of the time how do you get out of a hole. The first step is to stop digging and the second step is to stand up. You are never stuck in a situation. There is always a way out.
“That is what we wanted to get across to them. They might not have the support they need, might have different distractions, everybody lives a different life, but there is still a path for them to get to the top and get to where they want to be.”
Tags: Chris Carter, Jonathan Dwyer
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Show tapes at Heinz Field and is hosted by KDKA’s Bob Pompeani with a special Steelers gues each week.
There is a $5 admission charge. Parking is available in the Stage AE Parking Lot for $5.
6:30 PM – Doors Open
7:30 PM -Show Taping Begins
The first four weeks taping is in the FedEx Great Hall and then moves to the East Club Lounge the last four weeks.
Wed., Sept. 12 – Steve McLendon and Heath Miller (FedEx Great Hall)
Wed., Sept. 26 – Brett Keisel and Maurkice Pouncey (FedEx Great Hall)
Tues, Oct. 9 – Larry Foote and Antonio Brown (FedEx Great Hall)
Wed., Oct. 24 – Mike Adams and Casey Hampton (FedEx Great Hall)
Wed., Nov. 7 – Franco Harris and Jonathan Dwyer (East Club Lounge)
Wed., Nov. 21 – Mike Wallace and Keenan Lewis (East Club Lounge)
Wed., Dec. 5 – (East Club Lounge)
Tues., Dec. 18 – (East Club Lounge)
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Coach Tomlin: Tough football game. Nip and tuck. The difference is obviously that we didn’t find a significant play, particularly in the waning moments and in any of the three phases to be the difference, to put points on the board and allow us to get out of the stadium with the win. We accept responsibility for our performance, but we also tip our hat to those guys. They did enough to win the football game. On the injury front, Ziggy Hood had a lower back, Isaac Redman sustained a concussion, Baron Batch had a foot injury and Jerricho Cotchery has a rib injury that’s being evaluated. Some other bumps and bruises that are being evaluated, nothing definitive at this point. I’d be happy to answer any questions.
Re: QB Byron Leftwich’s performance:
I thought it was griddy. We knew that this was going to be a Baltimore-Steelers type football game. It was going to be nip and tuck. I thought it was great. Obviously, not enough plays by him or by any of the rest of us to secure victory.
Did Baltimore do anything special to block on the punt return for a touchdown?
No, it was a good effort by him. They did a nice job, they double-viced our gunners there and when they do that, the tackle has to come from the core of the punt formation and it didn’t, but nice execution by them. Obviously, a significant football play.
Re: The lack of third down conversions:
It’s a Steelers-Ravens game. They didn’t convert any either. We expected this to be a net punting type game and a significant play was going to swing it. Unfortunately for us, they provided a significant play with the punt return.
Did you think Leftwich had that type of long-run capability?
[Laughs] I don’t think he did either, but we’ll take it. Nice effort.
Re: The two early timeouts in the second half:
The play clock was running down so, obviously, it was confusing.
Re: Using the last timeout before the two-minute warning:
We were hoping we were going to get a stop there and I think we had an offsides or something. We wanted to get a stop there, stop the time, have them in a long yardage situation and maybe encourage them to throw the football. But that didn’t transpire.
Re: Ben Roethlisberger being an active leader on the sidelines:
He didn’t do anything any other quarterback wouldn’t do. Charlie [Batch] does a nice job, Byron does a nice job when Ben’s playing. We expect those guys to be active participants in adjustments and communication, particularly on the sideline and during timeouts.
How close were you to having Charlie Batch come in when Leftwich was being evaluated for a rib injury?
I wasn’t. Obviously, he sustained some hits but that’s football, particularly when you’re talking about this matchup. He did a nice job of communicating where he was and, more than anything, we just wanted to do a nice job of communicating.
Tags: Mike Tomlin
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