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One thing we know about Steelers

We're 10 games into this football season and there still are many unknowns about this year's Steelers team.

Questions about the defense, the ability to make the playoffs, the play calling, the offensive line, the health of key players, kickoff coverage and more. The list can go on, but I think you get the idea.

However, there's one thing we're keenly aware of: This team is much different without Troy Polamalu.

With Troy playing a full game, this team is undefeated. Without Troy playing a full game or even a half, the Steelers have lost to the likes of the Bears and the Chiefs. Not to mention the Bengals twice.

It hasn't been pretty.

The Steelers are 6-4 and have a now-important game with the 5-5 Ravens on Sunday night. A loss there, and the mighty Steelers will be in third place in the AFC North.

Polamalu should miss that game and could miss the two others that follow -- at home against the Raiders and at the Browns.

Coach Mike Tomlin and the players won't use Polamalu's injury as an excuse. But there's no getting around it. In all four losses, the Steelers easily could have won. They were in all four games without Polamalu.

The Bears, Bengals and Chiefs all won on their last possession. The second time around with the Bengals, the Steelers could have won with a touchdown on their last possession.

So, while we sit here getting ready for some turkey and lament the bad luck of the Steelers, let's remember that they're not getting run off the field in any of these games.

With Polamalu, this team's in first place; I have no doubts about that. When the team needed a play last season, he provided the jolt.

Now, they simply need him to get a healthy knee.

At least the health report at quarterback got better Monday. Steelers dodged a bullet when Ben Roethlisberger was deemed fit to play against the Ravens, especially with backup Charlie "Brittle" Batch ruled out.

Maybe it's time some more luck starts going their way this season.

A good start would be Sunday night against the Ravens.


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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…