They're Still Talking A Good Game

Mike Prisuta is disappointed in the Steelers' loss to the Titans, but says the Steelers aren't down.

NASHVILLE -- There's no explaining how the Steelers could lose a game to a team as wretched as the Tennessee Titans.

But the 2-3 predicament Thursday night's how'd-that-happen, 26-23 stunner created for the Steelers was another matter entirely.

That once-again-sub-.500 record "stinks" in the estimation of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who lost the opportunity to celebrate passing Terry Bradshaw to become the franchise's all-time leader in passing yards as well as a game.

Roethlisberger was right on the money with that particular assessment, but he lost momentum when asked to discuss what needed to be done to get the Steelers back into contention.

"We're just going to take it one game at a time," he said. "We're not going to look too far ahead."

Linebacker Larry Foote opted for a less clichéd response, for a road less traveled.

"Ten games from now we're going to be laughing and everybody is going to forget about this," Foote declared.

Turns out he was just getting warmed up.

"I'm excited," Foote continued. "I want to see what these guys are made of. I want to see what I'm made of, being a leader on this team.

"(Linebacker James) Farrior's gone; he ain't coming to save us. I'm anxious to see how I'm going to respond, and my comrades, also. I can't wait until Sunday night, Cincinnati, fourth quarter, and what we're going to do. Everybody's going to be watching."

Based on what we've seen from the Steelers on the road so far this season, those tuning in on Oct. 21 might be doing so just to see how bad it can get at Paul Brown Stadium.

But Foote wouldn't succumb to any type of thought process that suggested, after losses at Oakland and at Tennessee, it's time to re-evaluate these Steelers.

"Everybody in here's been knocked down," Foote said. "Everybody in here has had doors shut in their face and got beat.

"I mean, it's something new. But it's not surprising because I know how difficult it is to win. A ball here, a ball there, we could easily be 5-0. Hopefully, at the end of the season, we're going to be laughing."

Those laughing now are laughing at the Steelers, not with them.

Offensive tackle Max Starks wasn't doing either. Nor was he throwing in his Terrible Towel on a season that thus far has been a Terrible Disappointment.

"I'm not worried. I'm not discouraged. I'm encouraged," Starks insisted. "If this is the worst that can happen, we'll be alright. The adversity is here. As long as we overcome it, it'll make us a better team in the end.

"We have not a lot of room for error now. I've been through this. I've been here a long time, been through a lot worse situations at more critical points of the season. It's still early, and that's one of the biggest things we have on our side. There's still some time, but we have to be vigilant. We can't be careless with that time."

Starks was presumably referencing the three-game losing streak in late-November/early-December of 2005 that left the Steelers on the brink of missing the playoffs. They rebounded well enough to win the Super Bowl that season.

But this one looks and smells a whole lot more like 2009 right about now. That was a season that saw the Steelers inexplicably drop games to NFL bottom-feeders Kansas City, Oakland and Cleveland in the midst of a five-game losing streak in what became a non-playoff campaign.

So where do they go from here?

The smart-ass answer is Cincinnati. But whatever destination awaits them Starks maintained they'll get there together.

"I don't think there's any frustration," he said. "If anything there's frustration on individual parts as far as what can I do as an individual? More as an introspective look than outward blame, I think, is the most important thing. Figuring out what we can do individually to get better and to make that better as a team."

That much, at least, even these Steelers ought to be able to accomplish.

The bar, after all, has been set so woefully low.

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