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Win over defending champs -- priceless

Posted Nov 4, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Cornerback Ike Taylor needed all of two words to sum up a come-from-behind, 24-20 triumph over the defending-Super Bowl champion New York Football Giants and the 5-3 record Sunday’s victory at MetLife Stadium achieved for the Steelers.

“It’s cool,” Taylor stated.

Others in the visiting team’s locker room were more expansive after the Steelers remained one game behind the 6-2 Baltimore Ravens for first place in the AFC North Division at the season’s midpoint.

“We’re in a position where we control our own fate,” offensive tackle Max Starks said.

The Steelers got there in style by rushing for 158 yards, by holding New York quarterback Eli Manning to 10 completions in 24 attempts (Manning’s passer rating was 41.1) and by repeatedly popping long returns on special teams.

That they did so against the NFL’s reigning title holders was of particular importance to linebacker Larry Foote.

“It’s not another win, it’s priceless,” Foote insisted. “When you can feel the electricity when you walk into the locker room; that’s why a lot of us play this game.

“When you win on the road your confidence goes through the roof and guys are walking around with the ‘swag.’ But we gotta keep grounded. We know what’s at stake.”

In addition to another game in the standings, what was at stake against the Giants was the opportunity for the Steelers to continue building momentum following an unanticipated 2-3 start.

In doing so they stretched the season’s first winning streak to three games and provided more evidence that they’re starting to become the team they thought they would be all along this season.

That potential had been much harder to detect in the wake of early-season losses at Oakland and at Tennessee.

“We want to make sure at the end of the day we don’t let that haunt us,” Starks said. “We probably should have had both of those victories, but we didn’t execute at the end of the game when we needed to.

“Now, I think we’re starting to understand, and everybody’s starting to settle down. We know what our identity is as a team. Now, we’re starting to lean on our strengths as opposed to guessing it out as we were early in the season.”

The win over the Giants stood in stark contrast to Oakland and Tennessee in that regard, as the Steelers outscored Big Blue 14-0 in the fourth quarter. They had entered the final 15 minutes of regulation looking up at a 20-10 deficit.

“It feels great, especially with the way we started,” wide receiver Mike Wallace said. “We were 2-3 at one point and now we’re 5-3.

“We’re looking like a good team again.”

Added defensive end Brett Keisel: “We’re getting there. We’re starting to dig ourselves out of that hole we dug. Everybody just did their job (against the Giants) and that’s what it takes. When everybody does their job we’re pretty good.”

Part of the job now is to maintain perspective entering the season’s second half.

“I wish we were 8-0, but 5-3, we’ll take it,” tight end Heath Miller said. “We can’t really focus on the overall thing right now.

“We gotta focus on winning one game at a time.”

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