Steeler Way Lives

Dale Lolley has his notebook column from the Steelers' 23-10 win over the Buffalo Bills.

The Steeler way, the description of the approach the team has taken in all areas throughout the years, had come under fire in recent weeks as Pittsburgh struggled through its 2-6 start.

The criticism reached a crescendo following last week's 55-31 thrashing at the hands of the New England Patriots, a game in which the Steelers set dubious franchise records for most points and yards allowed in a game.

It was time to give up on the season; time to play all the young players; time to start playing for a higher draft pick in 2014; time for defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to go.

The list went on and on.

That's why this team needed a win. It needed something to salve its wounded psyche.

"I think when you've been here a while and had success, there's a level of expectation that you have for winning," said safety Troy Polamalu. "I think it's important for guys to understand that a season like this is unacceptable, how it's been so far. I think it's important for that. Guys that have only been here for two years have only had an 8-8 season and what we've put on paper so far this year. Older guys can get a little frustrated with that and try to do too much. This is something we haven't faced before.

"Hopefully, we can continue to win and show these guys the Steeler way."

Sunday's victory was just that, one victory that pulled the Steelers to 3-6.

But the way that the Steelers won this game, coupling a strong defensive effort with a balanced offensive output, was perhaps its most complete victory this season.

The final score was not indicative of the way the Steelers throttled the Bills. When Pittsburgh went up by two scores late in the third quarter, you got the feeling that the game was over, especially against E.J. Manuel, who looked completely overmatched.

@ I hate to bring this up, but Sunday's win puts the Steelers two games out of a playoff spot, both in the AFC North race and in the AFC wildcard race.

@ After recording his first career sack, Jarvis Jones touched his heart and then pointed both hands to the sky.

No, he wasn't thanking God for finally getting to the quarterback. He was letting his brother, Darcell Kitchens, who was murdered in 2005 during an argument outside a bar, know that the sack was for him.

@ Not only did Jones record his first sack of the season, so did Lawrence Timmons.

Sunday marked the first game of the second half for the Steelers and Timmons has seemingly become a second-half player.

Over the second half of the previous two seasons, Timmons has eight sacks and three interceptions.

If Timmons can find a way to get on a sack/takeaway role, the Steelers could be dangerous.

@ Jerricho Cotchery now has six touchdowns this season to lead the team. All six touchdowns have come within the 20-yard line.

Red Zone Cotchery just doesn't have the same ring to it that Red Zone Redman did. But it's much more fitting for Cotchery than it ever was for Redman, who really wasn't much of a red zone option.

@ Or maybe Le'Veon Bell could be Red Zone Bell. Bell scored his fourth rushing touchdown Sunday - or twice as many as anyone else did all of last season.

Then again, I probably would have scored following big Mike Adams into the end zone on that 4-yard run.

@ Seriously, about that playoff thing, next week's game against Detroit and a December game at Green Bay rate as the most difficult remaining games on Pittsburgh's schedule.

Remember, the 2012 Washington Redskins started out 3-6 and then won their last seven games to win the NFC East.

We're not talking about ancient history here.

If the Steelers can find a way to beat the Lions at home next week - weather like Sunday's would help - who knows?

Sure, a game at Cleveland the following week would be tough, but until they prove otherwise, the Browns are still the Browns in my book.

The rest of the schedule after that reads Ravens, Dolphins, Bengals, Packers, Browns.

That's why these Steelers have not given up on this season. There are a lot of games that could be very winnable.

Then again, none of those teams will have Manuel playing quarterback for them.

@ For the Steelers to have a shot at anything, Ben Roethlisberger is going to have to get out of his turnover mode.

He threw another interception Sunday and nearly lost a fumble on a sack-strip.

The Steelers are now 5-11 in their past 16 games. Roethlisberger has started 13 of those games and has thrown 14 interceptions.

Remember, he had four in the Steelers' first nine games last season, when they went 6-3.


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