The traps await

<b>PITTSBURGH - </b> Week after week, the Steelers continue to amaze. <br><br> One week, they make history by knocking off New England to end that team's NFL-record 21-game winning streak.

The next, they crush Philadelphia to become the first team in league history to defeat unbeaten teams in back-to-back weekends this late in the season. And Ben Roethlisberger becomes just the second rookie quarterback since Mike Kruczek in 1976 to win the first six starts of his career.

It seems to all be good for the Steelers right now. They can do no wrong.

But don't get too carried away with the team's 7-1 record just yet. A pair of trap games await them in the next two weeks at Cleveland and Cincinnati.

History shows us that the Steelers will likely lose one of those two games. It's not what fans want to hear, but facts are facts.

Now, on to the positive things.
  • That motor you heard revving up outside Heinz Field Sunday wasn't the one on the truck pulling the Steelers' bandwagon - though that one is being severely taxed at this point.

    That motor you heard Sunday was the one that drives The Bus.

    Subbing for Duce Staley, who sat out with a strained hamstring, Jerome Bettis showed why his bust will someday be on display in Canton, Ohio, rushing for 149 yards on 33 carries as the Steelers pounded the previously unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles, 27-3 here at Heinz Field before a crowd of 64,975.

    "I'm still here for a reason," said Bettis, who has scored eight touchdowns in limited action this season as the Steelers' short-yardage back. "They don't pay people to just sit around. They pay people to produce. The opportunity isn't there because Duce is a great running back. The role for me is to be a relief guy and I understand that. It was just a matter of me going out and showing the people on the outside that The Bus is still here."

    Bettis had more hop in his step than he's had in quite a while. It helps that the line was opening up holes big enough for me to run through. But it also helps that because Staley has shouldered so much of the load, Bettis had fresh legs.

    The Steelers can only hope that taking a week off will help give Staley a little more hop in his step - not that he needs it with the way he's performed this season.

  • Prior to Sunday's game, I mentioned that fullback Dan Kreider would be a key to the game along with running back Verron Haynes. Both were critical in picking up Philadelphia's blitzes.

    Of course after the Steelers' third drive - which resulted in the team's third touchdown - the blitzes didn't matter any more. The game was over.

  • The Steelers rang up 420 yards and never punted against what was supposed to be one of the NFL's top defenses.

    Sometimes you just have one of those days.

  • The biggest factor in my mind to Sunday's game was the fact the Steelers never allowed Eagles' QB Donovan McNabb to get out of the pocket and run. That's the sign of a patient, disciplined defense.

  • That's the characteristics I would think of to describe defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. This defense is quickly becoming a personification of him.

  • Ditto the offense. Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt may be the assistant coach of the year in the NFL this season for the way he's handled Roethlisberger and turned this team's offensive line around.

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