Maintaining the intensity is a key

There was no question the intensity picked up when the Steelers played the Ravens last week at Heinz Field, an AFC North grudge match that brings out the best in every player that puts a helmet on.

One thing players are well aware of is that intensity has to be just as strong and prevalent when the Steelers hit the road to take on the Oakland Raiders on Sunday afternoon, and throughout the rest of the season.

"Ever since we put ourselves in the hole of being 0-4 the intensity had to go to another level because we had the chance to turn this thing around," said linebacker LaMarr Woodley. "A lot of people were counting us out, but the way football is it isn't over until it's over. We wanted that intensity to be there and get that one win and start to steamroll after that. We got that win against the Jets in New York and then we came back home and got the win against the Baltimore Ravens.

"Now we have to go out to Oakland and play against a team we haven't won against in years and keep that intensity high."

Second-year fullback Will Johnson said seeing the way the veterans have approached the season, whether it be during the 0-4 stretch or since the team has won the last two games, has had a trickle-down effect on everyone.

"The veteran guys stepped up and the younger guys are following their lead," said Johnson. "We are all playing together as a team. It's fun when you are winning. Hopefully we can continue to do this and continue to have fun. We have to come out and continue to execute and play hard like we do.

"When you win, everything picks up. Rookies and younger guys like me get that feeling of what it's like to win and you want to continue to practice hard. The coaches and veteran players shouldn't have to beat that into you. It's something you should want to do. The intensity is going to keep picking up from here on out as we start stacking more and more wins."

At 2-4 every game is magnified right now and there is no margin for error, no room for any type of let down even for a minute. Woodley knows in last year's game against the Raiders, a disappointing 34-31 loss, there were some let downs and they proved costly. He doesn't want to see anything like that happen this time around.

"As a defense we gave up big plays, big run and pass plays," said Woodley. "To win you can't give up those big plays. Once we eliminate the big plays and the penalties, we come out on top."

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