Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fine Line between First Win and Final Straw

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fine Line between First Win and Final Straw

Article excerpt

LONDON --

It seems a long way, but at this point the Steelers would go to the ends of the earth to find a victory.

"We just need one," cornerback Ike Taylor said. "That's all we need, we're searching for one."

After failing to find that one in their first three games, the Steelers have reached a fork in the hedgerows. Another loss Sunday when they play the equally winless Minnesota Vikings at 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium could spin their season out of control. A victory with an off week to follow would at least put things back on track for them for the next two weeks. They come off their open date with games at the New York Jets, and then home to the Baltimore Ravens. That game at Heinz Field against the Super Bowl champs still could be meaningful, but only if they win Sunday in England.

Go 0-4, and the roof collapses. If the Steelers believed they had a fractured locker room last season, they might not want to see the tremors if they match their longest losing streak to open a season in 45 years.

"It is a big game for us -- 0-3, the odds are not too good for the near future," Taylor said. "That's just how it is. But we dug ourselves a hole, we have to dig ourselves out.

"We don't even know how winning feels right now. We have to get at least a win."

The Steelers arrived Friday morning after an overnight flight. Coach Mike Tomlin and a handful of players were whisked to a lunchtime news conference, then it was off to meetings and a late afternoon practice before they called it a long day.

Unlike the Vikings, who left Minnesota Monday, the Steelers did most of their work back home because, as Tomlin said, "We were searching for, and found, normalcy."

Now they are searching for, and hope to find, a victory.

"Obviously, we have yet to win a football game," Tomlin told a banquet room full of reporters from the U.S. and the U.K. "There's a certain amount of urgency that comes with that, an appropriate urgency, but nothing out of the ordinary."

This, though, is out of the ordinary for the Steelers. The previous time they were 0-3 was in 2000.

"I don't know if I want to say this, but I'm going to say it, it's a playoff kind of game," Taylor said. "You have two 0-3 teams, you have a lot on the line right now. We better be ready and match Minnesota's intensity because you best believe they're coming with it."

Seasons can turn one way or the other on a single game, and while the Steelers face long odds of becoming only the fourth team in 23 seasons to reach the playoffs after losing their first three, they still think they can.

"Maybe it just takes one win to kind of get you going, and that's our hope," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "Our hope is to get one and see where it goes from there."

TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW

The reason the Steelers signed Antonio Brown to that six-year, $43 million contract in 2012 was evident last week against the Chicago Bears when he caught nine passes for a career-high 196 yards and two touchdowns, one a spectacular one-handed catch in the back of the end zone. …

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