And our offense was very sharp, particularly in that first half. And our defense did a good job of containing a potent offense. Why was Joey in on that play?"> And our offense was very sharp, particularly in that first half. And our defense did a good job of containing a potent offense. Why was Joey in on that play?">

Post-Game Quotes Part I

<b>BILL COWHER</b>: Obviously the fast start was important. We got our fans into it and Joey (Porter) kind of set the tempo with the blocked punt.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </span>And our offense was very sharp, particularly in that first half. And our defense did a good job of containing a potent offense. Why was Joey in on that play?

  • Kevin Spencer came to me earlier in the week and told me this punter has a tendency to be a little slow versus a six-up look. And he wanted to use Joey and Jason to see if he could just beat those guys. It was nothing more than a pass rush. I thought it was a great idea so we put those guys in there early in the game. The front that we showed is a return front and he was a little more methodical there. So it was a good idea by Kevin and certainly Joey did a great job of executing.

From a performance standpoint, is the team where you thought it would be at the beginning of the season?

  • Yeah. We are. We've got to sustain the level. That's the big thing right now. You cannot be up and down and that's the biggest challenge we have right now. We've got to eliminate the lulls. We've got to go out there and play for 60 minutes, and there's going to be some close football games. We've got to find ways to win close football games. I'm really not going to go back to thinking about the preseason, the expectations. We're dealing with where we are right now and that's the most important thing, not to get caught up with anything more than where we are right now. We put together two solid performances and we're going to have a big challenge in Baltimore because they're playing pretty good football right now.

Injuries to Jerome Bettis and Jeff Hartings?

  • No. I don't have any indication. They may be. I think early, Jerome's might be a little bit better than Jeff's. I don't think anything's an extended period but there could be some time missed. Again, this is initial.

How about passing to 6 different receivers?

  • We were able to get into some rhythm. I thought Tommy (Maddox) came out and made some big throws. Mike (Mularkey) called a good game and we kept them off balance a lot. You always talk about third down; we weren't even getting to third down. We were moving the ball very efficiently on first and second down. I thought the running game was very solid all night long and the line did a great job. That's the kind of game it was going to be. We were able to mix it up pretty good, got into a little bit of a lull there at the beginning of the third quarter.

Could you comment on Amos Zereoue's and Chukky Okobi's performances?

  • Chukky's a good football player. If we have to go with him, that's fine. That's his natural position. We've been taking some reps with him at guard, but he's a very natural center. We got Fu (Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala) back in there. He got a few runs today, so if we have to go without Jerome… I guess it's appropriate we're playing Baltimore again, so if that's the case, we'll go with Fu and Amos again.

Why was it so important to start fast?

  • To get our crowd into it. Our players feed off of our crowd. Without a doubt there's an energy that you play to when this stadium gets going. When we've been able to do that, get them into the game early, it's proven over time that we're going to win a lot of those football games; and they were, without question, a big factor tonight, the fans.

Why did you try a field goal at the end?

  • Why not?

If could be blocked, couldn't it?

  • I don't like to go in thinking negative. I like to think we're going to make field goals. We've got to be able to make those. With the score in that situation, I felt like I wanted to give him a chance to make it.

Was that a purposeful squib or a bad kickoff?

  • Bad kick.


Are you the man right now?

  • The man? Shoot, I was a star; you guys just didn't know it yet.

Are you a natural center?

  • Yeah. I mean, I played guard four years at Purdue. I started at center my senior year. But, I guess when I first got to Purdue I was a center and then two weeks later I was at guard; so I guess I'm a natural. If that's what he said, it must be true because he's the resident expert on football around here.

What is the outlook for playing time?

  • I know I have to play next week. I don't know the extent of his injury. I hope it's not too bad.

Why did you say you know you'll play next week?

  • It's more of an assumption. But I assume every week I'm going to play. If I don't, then I don't. But by assuming that I'm always going to play, I stay ready.

Are you ready?

  • Oh yeah. I've been ready my whole life. I've been following the Steelers. I remember the first time I ever really started watching the Steelers, Mark Malone was the quarterback. I've been a Steeler way before I was drafted.

Mark Malone? That usually turns young players off.

  • No. I'm just saying I've been on this team before I was drafted. I've been waiting for this forever. Hopefully, I won't screw it up (laughter). You know what I mean?


Injury Update:  Bettis is doubtful with MCL sprain. Hartings is "probably doubtful to questionable, on a short week probably doubtful." -- Cowher



-- Jim Wexell










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