Dale Lolley's Notebook II

Steelers beat man returns from Baltimore with notes, quotes and anecdotes from the locker room.

Panic-mode is in full throttle right now regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But people seem to forget how teams rally their locker room around outside influences as the Baltimore Ravens did this week.

Look back at the Steelers for an example. Remember when Ben Roethlisberger was suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell back in 2010?

The Steelers were supposed to be in big trouble. They were supposed to go 0-4. Instead, they rallied around the fact they didn't have their best offensive player and went 3-1.

That's kind of how things happen in the NFL. It's one game. The Steelers had to go on the road on a short week against an opponent that was circling the wagons and couldn't afford to fall to 0-2 at home in the division.

@ Road teams are now just 24-42 in these Thursday night games since the NFL started playing them in 2006, including a 1-3 record by the Steelers in those games.

It's a huge advantage to not have to travel on the short week, even if you've caused yourself a ton of turmoil by not cutting bait with Ray Rice when you had the chance to do it in the offseason.

@ There wasn't a lot of anger in the Steelers' locker room. They haven't reached that point yet.

After all, 1-1 sure beats the heck out of the 0-4 start to last season, even though the Steelers have now been outscored 50-9 in the last six quarters.

"Our defense is young," said defensive end Cameron Heyward. "We're going to get better."

We knew that coming into this season. But the offense struggling is another matter altogether. Turnovers hurt the Steelers in this one, but so did penalties.

"We've got to take care of the ball and stop making mental mistakes," said running back Le'Veon Bell. "Holding penalties, false starts and blocks in the back are drive killers. It's already hard enough to pick up a first down as it is. When you hurt yourself ... against a good defense, it makes it that much harder."

@ Roethlisberger didn't look sharp in this one. Maybe it had something to do with the big hit he took on the game's opening third down - which was penalized - but he was throwing behind and underthrowing receivers all night.

@ Troy Polamalu is usually pretty reserved when it comes to his own mistakes.

But on this night, he was obviously a little ticked about the unnecessary roughness penalties called on both he and safety Mike Mitchell that helped set up Baltimore's second touchdown.

Polamalu's exchange with reporters went like this:

Reporter: "How did you feel about the personal foul?"

Polamalu: "Which one? I think it's kind of funny because that is what you are used to seeing in this type of game. I's kind of our style of play. They play physical. We play physical. I think those kind of plays are going to happen whenever we play each other."

Maybe not in today's NFL.

@ There was at least one silver lining in this game. Until basically giving up the ghost late in the game after the offense again did nothing, the Steelers were doing a nice job against the Ravens' run game, giving up about 2.9 yards per carry until Justin Forsett hit them for a 41-yard gain.

"We were doing a better job," said defensive end Brett Keisel. "But guys have to understand that you have to be where you're supposed to be at on every play, otherwise, you're going to give up those long runs."

I don't know if it was a coincidence, and both coach Mike Tomlin and rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier said it was the plan to rotate him a little with Sean Spence, but Shazier seemed to get yanked again after that play.

@ The stat sheet showed that Shazier had 11 tackles. But I've got to be honest. That was as quiet and 11 tackles as I think I've seen.

@ The Ravens scored just two touchdowns in six trips inside the red zone. The Steelers don't want to give up six trips into the red zone, but they did a better job of keeping Baltimore from scoring touchdowns than they did last week against Cleveland.

"We talked about that, having some pride down there in the goal line situation and not giving up, fighting to the end," said Keisel. "I was proud of the way they hung in there tough at the goal line. It's a little thing that we can build on."


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