Bye week musings

Suddenly, that 5-1 record the Steelers are sporting looks even better now than it did before they had their week off.

Sunday's games showed just how difficult it is to win week-in and week-out in the NFL. When Seattle loses at Arizona, St. Louis gets crushed at Miami and Philadelphia needs overtime to win at Cleveland, it gives you a good look at how difficult it is to win on the road - even against supposedly inferior talent.

That's why the Steelers' victories at Miami and Dallas already this season look so good. Regardless of their records, winning a game at any team's home stadium is not an easy task.

And that's great news for the Steelers, who host New England and Philadelphia - now the final unbeaten teams left in the NFL - in their next two games.

The late Bob Prince's hidden vigorous theory also comes into play. It says that the longer a winning or losing streak continues, the more likely it is to end.

Face it, just like the Dolphins were due to win on Sunday, both New England and Philadelphia are due to lose.
  • One downside of the bye week is that Ben Roethlisberger won't win the NFL's Rookie of the Week award, breaking his four-week string.

    Then again, things have gone so well for Roethlisberger, he may just win it again this week just for being himself.

    It's gotten that crazy.

  • J.P. Losman is getting a lot closer to becoming the second quarterback from this year's first rounders to see some playing time.

    In fact, if his leg hadn't been broken by cornerback Troy Vincent in practice, it's likely Losman would have already replaced Drew Bledsoe, who appears to be completely shot. But Losman's nearing his return and with the Bills season in the tank, he's going to play sooner rather than later.

    And Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers, the first two QBs taken in this year's draft, are stuck behind Kurt Warner and Drew Brees, who are playing too well to be replaced.

    That doesn't mean Manning and Rivers won't be good players. They just won't get an early start on things like Roethlisberger and Losman.

  • New England will see more than the 27 rushing attempts the Jets had against them Sunday when they play the Steelers next week.

    If the Steelers are going to beat the Patriots, they have to run the ball between 35 and 40 times.

    The Jets got 105 yards on their 27 carries, just under four yards per carry. If the Steelers can do that on 35 carries, they can beat the Patriots.

    The Jets just made a couple of crucial errors Sunday that cost them and the Pats just don't beat themselves.

    The first big error was having too many men on the field on a punt. The penalty gave New England a first down and they marched down the field for a field goal.

    Later in the second quarter, the Jets somehow allowed Kevin Faulk to run unfettered down the middle of the field after they had just scored their only touchdown. Faulk picked up big yardage and set the stage for the Pats to score their only TD of the game on the final play of the first half.

    You can't make mistakes like that and beat a good team.

  • I gotta tell you guys, after spending so much time covering and writing about this team over the past three months, it was very nice to just take a Sunday off and spend it with my family.

    I got a chance to see both of my grandmothers for the first time in months and really recharged my batteries for what is going to be a terrific stretch run.

    This is looking like a special season - one you'll talk about for years and tell you kids about when they get older.

    Sit back and enjoy it, but don't forget the little things.

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