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Search for No. 7 starts tonight for Steelers

When last we saw the Pittsburgh Steelers on the football field, they were busy celebrating Santonio Holmes' Super Bowl-winning touchdown and their sixth NFL championship.

Coach Mike Tomlin spent all preseason trying to separate 2009 from that title-winning team.

We'll find out starting tonight how that approach might work.

The Steelers begin defense of their championship against the Tennessee Titans at 8 p.m. on prime time.

There will be fireworks, celebrations and a former star or two from Steelers lore on hand.

And, so will the Titans.

They've been waiting for this game since they blew their chance at a rematch in the AFC Championship Game by losing to the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round.

They'll finally get it, but with much lower stakes.

The Steelers enter the game having had terrible luck against the Titans in the past, including a 31-14 beatdown last season which knocked the Steelers out of a shot at the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

That didn't turn out so bad.

On the bright side, the Steelers' punting game shouldn't be as miserable as it was last year. The return game should be better with Stefan Logan. The defense should continue to be superb and the wide receivers should be better as well (hopefully, Limas Sweed knows how to apply Stick'em).

The big question, for me, is the offensive line. Can they give Ben Roethlisberger enough time to throw, and can they open up some running lanes for Fast Willie Parker?

We'll soon find out against an outstanding Titans defense.

I'm always nervous when it comes to a Steelers-Titans showdown. Jeff Fisher knows how to deal with the Steelers.

There's one thing going against him this week: Don't mess with the Terrible Towel.

Steelers, 20-16.

We'll see how tonight turns out.


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So much for Byron the great backup

I never understood the Steelers' fascination with their backup quarterbacks.

They've had either Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich for what seems like ages now.

And when the Steelers really needed a backup, Leftwich couldn't deliver.

Leftwich rambled 31 yards for a touchdown Sunday against the Ravens, but other than that burst, the Steelers couldn't do anything on offense in a 13-10 loss that puts them in a bad position in the AFC North.

Leftwich, with his long delivery, looks better suited for the Pirates' bullpen than behind center.

He went 18-for-39 passing for 201 yards, but couldn't help a Steelers' offense that looks lost right now.

The Ravens came into the game with a weak defense. The thought was Leftwich could manage the game, the Steelers could find a running back to rely on and they'd escape with a win.

It didn't work out that way.

And it looks like we could see Batch at QB this week -- or someone else.

The Steelers are worried about Leftw…