Sudden Impact

By Paulk, Ralph N | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Sudden Impact


Paulk, Ralph N, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Troy Polamalu walked into the Steelers' locker room Thursday wearing a confident smile, one reflective of a mending, self- assured strong safety ready to play for the first time in eight weeks.

Polamalu, forced to sit with an ailing calf muscle since Oct. 7, is determined to play Sunday against AFC North rival Baltimore with the Steelers' playoff fate in a perilous state.

Polamalu is hoping to thrust himself back into action partly because a fourth straight defeat to Baltimore would even the Steelers' record at 6-6 and leave them scrambling for a wild-card playoff berth.

Also, the five-time All-Pro can't resist a challenge -- a head- to-head battle with Baltimore's oft-effusive All-Pro safety Ed Reed. For Polamalu, the Steelers-Ravens rivalry may be defined by their by presence, but mental and physical toughness factors into every outcome.

"I would say this game has been defined by the physicality," Polamalu said. "The beautiful thing about it is we take football to the purest essence in the sense that the more physical team always wins this matchup.

"No matter where or what the circumstances are -- or who's in the game -- it's always been the most physical team that survives. Speaking on philosophy, (free safety) Ryan Clark and I always talk about the defense is only as good as the safety play.

"What it pretty much comes down to is you can blame the safety for every touchdown that happens. It's either a missed tackle, we're out of position, we didn't make a right key, we didn't communicate, or we didn't encourage enough. It's all part of the safety's role."

Two of the best

Few have fulfilled their roles at safety better than Polamalu and Reed.

They have fueled arguably the most intense, competitive rivalry in the NFL over the past decade. They have dictated the outcome of most games with momentum-shifting plays or had a hand in a decisive turnover to solidify victory.

However, they haven't been nearly as effective this season. Polamalu's troublesome calf has limited him to five quarters. Reed has started every game, but the cumulative wear on his body has left him with slightly diminished skills.

Still, they are among the best safeties in the NFL. Their teams - - and this rivalry -- are better with them than without.

"This rivalry will always be intense," Reed said. "Baltimore and Pittsburgh are two of the greatest organizations in the league, and it's bigger than us.

"From the top down, these are great teams, organizations, and the rivalry is always going to be what it is. Steelers-Ravens is special."

They may have varying styles and personalities, but Polamalu and Reed are joined at the proverbial hip, in part, because in an era in which the Steelers and Ravens have dominated the division, they have been the most dominant playmakers.

"You think of this rivalry and you definitely think of those two guys," said Baltimore coach John Harbaugh. "They've been the two best safeties in football for years now. They play different styles with similar results."

Contrasting styles

Polamalu, a soft-spoken, 10-year veteran, doesn't exert himself with mindless chatter. He largely leads by example, often sacrificing his body with punishing blows that deter running backs and receivers from daring to challenge him.

With Polamalu set to return to the lineup, Harbaugh figures he isn't likely to see the same defense Baltimore faced two weeks ago.

"We don't treat it any differently because you have to look at the player playing the position, and you have to understand the structure of it," Harbaugh said. "Troy has a little more leeway in terms of changing the defense on the run.

"He does a great job of communicating that to the other defensive backs and getting them all coordinated on the same page. He's a guy you really have to track and can't really be certain about where he's going to be playing. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Sudden Impact
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.