Steelers face playoff cliff

Steelers face playoff cliff
November 28, 2012, 5:30 am
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In Washington, where the fiscal cliff looms menacingly for the Congress, the president and the American people, there is talk about cutting entitlements.

In Pittsburgh, where the Steelers find themselves with a precariously uncertain playoff outlook at 6-5 — and no realistic shot at the AFC North heading into Sunday’s game with the 9-2 Ravens — at least one Steeler is also talking about cutting back on entitlement.

Safety Ryan Clark told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "You lose one game in Pittsburgh and the sky is falling; it's just part of the culture. It's part of winning six Super Bowls, it's part of being 12-4 three of last four years. We're a spoiled bunch, and overall we've become entitled. But you can't be entitled, you can't walk into places and just think because you're the Pittsburgh Steelers you're going to win.

"We need to execute, and we haven't been executing. Do we need to win [Sunday]? Without a doubt. We would have needed to win [against the Ravens] had we won this game."

Clark was referring to Pittsburgh’s 20-14 loss to division cellar-dweller Cleveland last weekend, which left the Steelers just barely in a playoff spot.

"It's going to be tough, man, but we're mentally tough," nose tackle Casey Hampton told the Post-Gazette. "We're going to come out there and keep fighting. I'm not worried about that. … There's no question in my mind the type of fight this team has in them."

And part of that fight is not using the team’s injury problems, even when that means the Steelers are down to third-string quarterback Charlie Batch, as an excuse.

"If guys get healthy or they don't get healthy, we need to find ways to win," Hampton said. "You can't count on guys who you don't know if they're going to be there or not. We have a good enough football team to win those kinds of football games, and we have to do it.”