PITTSBURGH -- Some 36 hours after complaining about his defense being shut out of sacks during the Pittsburgh Steelers' Monday night win in Washington, Cameron Heyward wasn't about to listen to any excuses, even though:
1. The Steelers rarely blitzed;
2. The Redskins got rid of the ball quickly;
3. The Redskins allowed the fourth fewest sacks in the league last year.
Heyward didn't want to hear about any of it.
"No, because at the end of the day everybody's always going to have a game plan," he said. "We've stopped those game plans before and we're going to play those game plans throughout the year, so to say it's just a game plan, I expect pass rush to be at an all-time high for us. We can't have games where we're shut out on sacks. We've had some good pressure but we're not in it just to have a pressure. We've got to get the sacks. We've got to get the quarterback on the ground. We've got to get turnovers. It makes our secondary feel at ease when we do that."
They'll need -- and expect to get -- many more Sunday in the Heinz Field opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, who allowed seven sacks last week against the New York Jets. Former Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon sacked Bengals QB Andy Dalton two times in the game.
BENGALS NOT TOP RIVAL?
In spite of playing three intense games last season, including a playoff game that went down to the wire with a controversial finish, won by the Steelers, the word in the Steelers locker room is that the Bengals still aren't the team's chief rival these days.
"It's a very big rivalry," Heyward said. "I would say it's the second biggest rivalry in the AFC North. The Ravens are first. But it's a hard-hitting physical rivalry, one that you have to respect and one you have to bring your hardhat because you know it's going to be a game you've got to work."
The Ravens are still the top rival?
Considering the animosity with the Bengals?
"What animosity?" Heyward asked. "We got the win last year."
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger agreed. "Whether it's the Browns, Bengals or Ravens, to us they're all big division rivals."
ILB Ryan Shazier (knee) and FB Rosie Nix (back) missed practice, but Shazier is expected to play this week and Nix is said to be close.
A light rain fell late in practice and Roethlisberger slipped on his plant foot and almost went to the ground. But he kept his balance and whipped a deep ball reminiscent of the touchdown pass he threw to Sammie Coates Monday night following a low snap. This deep ball was also caught, but Roethlisberger limped to the sideline and was done for the day. He was walking fine in the locker room and said, "It was nothing, just a slip. Nothing at all."
Eli Rogers had a similar late spill and limped back to the huddle. He said later, "I didn't slip. Big Dan (McCullers) stepped on my foot. That's a big boy. What's he got a size 20 shoe? But, no, I'll be fine."
FLYING THE FLAG
Heyward had a Joe Greene jersey hanging in the corner between his two lockers and explained he had been wearing it for a team video shoot to promote one of their community affairs. Greene was there and signed it for Heyeward, addressing it "To Cam."
When asked why it was hanging up, Heyward said, "That's not something you put on the ground."
Heyward was going to take it home, but "People keep talking about it, so I might as well keep it here. Maybe it'll bring us good luck."
IMPROBABLE FIRST TD
Rogers said he imagined his first touchdown catch "a hundred different ways, but not that way. I didn't imagine that one time."
Rogers caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger right before the end of the first half. The pass was intended for Coates, but bounced off him, and a defender, before "It hit my facemask," Rogers said. "It was like slow-motion after that. The ball just hit me and was moving real slow. I just grabbed it and fell."
Rogers said he got a call after the game from his old high school and college teammate, Teddy Bridgewater.
"He was real happy for me, real proud. He was excited for me," Rogers said of the injured Minnesota Vikings quarterback. "He's doing good. He's holding up well."
DAVIS' HAPPY HOME
Sean Davis said "Everybody's happy. I'm happy," following his NFL debut in his hometown in front of 25-30 family members and friends.
Davis was the first rookie defensive back to start an opener for the Steelers since Chad Scott in 1997. The slot cornerback did a fair job in coverage and made four tackles.
"I missed a few tackles and I got knocked off another one," he said. "I was nervous at first but after that first hit it all went away. I think I did all right for the first time out, but I know I need to get better."