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Win puts Steelers back on track

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of hearing about a Super Bowl hangover.

And judging by the way the Steelers played Sunday against the Chargers, I think they are, too.

The Steelers disposed of the Chargers 38-28 Sunday, putting them just a game behind the Bengals and Ravens in the AFC North Division.

For 30 minutes, the Steelers played at a very high level. In fact, it would be hard to think they could play better than they did. So, it was natural for them to hit a lull against the Chargers.

Compliment San Diego for not folding in the second half. A lesser team would have taken their medicine and made plans to their flight back home after trailing 28-0.

The Chargers fought back. But the Steelers responded.

Just like giving props to San Diego, give Pittsburgh credit for staying composed and icing the game at the end. A lesser team easily could have collapsed after all that went San Diego's way in the fourth quarter.

Jeff Reed's game-clinching kick was nice, showing he put aside the misses he had in Chicago. And Rashard Mendenhall's 165-yard, two-touchdown game was a pleasure to watch.

What mattered to me, however, was the return of the real James Harrison.

Harrison had two sacks and a forced fumble after having just one sack in his first three games. His sack and forced fumble of Philip Rivers at the end of the game started the celebration at Heinz Field.

That's what I like to see.

Aside from a terrible series in which the Chargers went 67 yards in four plays, the defense was stout. They held LaDainian Tomlinson to just 15 yards on seven carries. The Chargers had just 251 total yards.

The problem came on special teams where Stefan Logan had the ball stripped from him and returned for a TD, and where Ryan Mundy muffed an onside kick. You can't peg that on the defense.

So, like not believing in a hangover for this team, I don't see the defense as having collapsed.

And I'm not worried about a fourth-quarter trend of opposing teams rallying against this defense. Let's get Troy Polamalu back and see if happens before we go reaching for the panic button.

Up next, the ultimate hangover helper: the Lions and Browns. That's the equivalent of taking two aspirin and calling the doctor in the morning.


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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…