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Steelers Win!

Those words never get old, even if they come after an ugly, uneventful victory over the lowly Tamap Bay Buccaneers.

The Steelers improved to 5-7 with the 20-3 triumph. The win keeps them mathmatically alive in the AFC Wild Card picture . Hey, I know it's a longshot, but we all said we'd keep faith alive until we were technically eliminated.

As I suspected, we played with solid intensity on the defensive side of the football and gave the inexperienced, and nervous Bruce Gradkowski fits. Gradkowski was playing in front of family and friends in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Gradkowski doesn't deserve an F for his performance, but he also deserves no higher than a C-. The Steelers picked off the rookie 3 times, and forced a fumble while only turning the ball over once. By the way, did anyone else say, "Oh no, here we go again," after that first pick by Big Ben? That was a horrible throw that ended an otherwise promising first offensive possesion.

Tampa Bay actually outrushed the Steelers 110 to 76, but it hardly seemed as if they were running at will. Plus, once we opened our lead to 17-0 in the 3rd quarter, the Bucs had to abandon the running game even further and take to the air.

The big story though was the turnovers. The +3 differential was the difference in this one. Had we not forced four critical takeaways, who knows how ugly this one would have been. Our offense was stagnant yesterday, compiling only 267 yards of total offense.

We certainly seemed content letting our defense win this one for us. We kept feeding Willie Parker the ball (22 carries), even though he averaged less than 3 yards per carry (61 rush yards). Big Ben wasn't spectacular by any stretch of the imagination, but 1) he didn't have to be and 2)both Hines Ward and Cedrick Wilson were sidelined with injuries. Can you believe that Nate Washington was our #1 WR for most of the game yesterday? I should give a shout out to Nate though; he finsihed the game with 78 receiving yards including a big 36 yarder that led to points.

Roethlisberger compensated for his receivers being out by finding his two tight ends. His TD toss to Heath Miller in the 4th quarter was a thing of beauty. Backup Jerame Tuman's TD catch was routine, but Miller had to change his route, create space from the secondary, and make an outsretched catch on a perfect pass from Roethlisberger. Impressive stuff, and a reminder of why we should be giving him the damn ball far more often.

Pittsburgh now has a short week to prepare for the Browns at home on Thursday night. The Brownies are coming off a dramatic come-from-behind victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, so this one should be good. Let's hope we can get some players on both sides of the ball healthy. I hate losing to Cleveland, and we've already had plenty of disappointing moments this season. Let's hope we can finish on a positive note.

Go Steelers!