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Steelers haven't lost confidence

Posted Sep 24, 2012

OAKLAND – The Steelers have lost two games but not their confidence.

“I always like our chances,” guard Willie Colon said of facing the type of late-game situations that got away from the Steelers on Sept. 9 at Denver and again last Sunday against the Raiders.

But …

“It’s the NFL, man,” Colon continued. “When it comes down to the last round everybody’s swinging for the fences. It just so happens we’ve been knocked down twice.

“We’ll grow from it.”

The game against the Broncos ultimately was decided on a pick-six that abruptly halted what the Steelers had hoped would be a late drive for the game-winning touchdown.

Sunday afternoon’s game against the Raiders saw the Steelers lose possession on a fumble by wide receiver Antonio Brown while holding a three-point lead with 10:45 remaining, and then they failed to convert a third-and-9 from the Pittsburgh 36-yard line just inside the two-minute warning with the game tied at 31-31.

That final possession had begun at the Steelers’ 20-yard line with 6:30 left in regulation and had been continued via a fourth-and-1 conversion from the Pittsburgh 29-yard line with 3:51 left in the fourth quarter.

“I gotta finish,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said following the Raiders’ 34-31 victory, an outcome that dropped the Steelers to 1-2 on the season. “I want the ball.

“I went out there and told the offense, ‘Hey, this is what we want, 80 yards to win the game. I love that opportunity. I love that chance. We feel like we’re close. We’re just not there yet.”

Where the Steelers are, literally, has meant everything this season. Sunday’s loss dropped them to 0-2 away from home.

“We gotta step in hostile environments and play ball,” defensive end Brett Keisel said. “We can’t just be reliant on Heinz Field. In order for us to be the team we want to be we have to play well on the road and we haven’t shown that we can do that yet.”

Added cornerback Ike Taylor, “We gotta learn how to finish, point blank, period. We gotta find a will, gotta find a way to at least win one game on the road.”

The Raiders scored on their final five possessions (three touchdowns and two field goals) and overcame second-half deficits of 24-14 and 31-21.

The fourth-down conversion on what turned out to be the Steelers’ final possession came on a 5-yard run by running back Isaac Redman.

What proved to be the Steelers’ last third down went awry when Roethlisberger was unable to connect with wide receiver Mike Wallace.

“They brought the ‘hot’ (a blitz) and Heath (Miller) was the ‘hot’ guy,” Roethlisberger said. “They covered it; we might have gotten 2 yards, so you try to make a play.

“(I) just missed Mike on the other end. Gotta make that play on my part.”

The late-game stumbles spoiled an afternoon that saw the Steelers amass 433 total net yards and possess the ball for 36:15. Roethlisberger finished with 384 passing yards, four touchdown passes and a passer rating of 123.2.

“I felt like offensively we kind of did things we wanted to do,” he said. “We no-huddled the whole second half. We moved the ball down the field.

“There were plays out there that I called that aren’t in our playbook, I know it sounds crazy. Things that we’ve had from years past, guys were on the same page and it worked.”

Just not quite well enough.

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