No time for a letdown

The Steelers won't let the Bills 2-8 record fool them as they know they are going to have their hands full in Buffalo on Sunday.

"They have been in every game," said wide receiver Antwaan Randle El. "We are not overlooking them, more so the way they played the last five or six games. The last five games they are 2-3 and the three games they lost were by a total of about nine points.

"We are not overlooking them by any means. In the last two games they came back and won. They aren't a team you overlook. You don't want to overlook any team, but they certainly have given us reason not to overlook them."

After starting off 0-8, the Bills have won their last two games and the Steelers know they can't let their guard down.

"They are a good football team," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "They have a good defense. We have to bear down and focus.

"I think they are opportunistic. Whenever they have an interception it seems like they never drop it, they always catch them and they always make the most of their plays. Seems like these last couple weeks in particular is the most film we have watched and they are really getting after the quarterback and making as many plays as they can."

Former Steelers and Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Blount was at practice on Wednesday and shared his thoughts on the NFL's crackdown on illegal hits.

"What I think the Commissioner and the National Football League are trying to do is something to enforce the rule and make sure player safety is a priority," said Blount. "Some of the things and some of the hits you see that these guys are getting fined for are just clean football hits. I think there is a fine line there. I do support player safety. Nobody is going to always agree on the actions that are taken.

"I think from the things we have seen from some of the hits James Harrison has had and some of the fines around the league, I think they are questionable. I think there has to be some common sense used. When you start fining someone $50,000 or $25,000 - that is serious money. Hopefully the league and the rules committee can take a look at it this offseason and come up with something that is fair to the players. I think there have been some fines that have been unfair because guys have been just making football plays."

There isn't any better time than now in the minds of the players to start a winning streak that they hope will extend their season.

"In this league you have to go on runs," said Roethlisberger. "You want to get hot and you want to get hot at the end of the year and you want to be playing your best football and that entails putting wins together and that is what we need to do. It's that time of year where we need to start stacking up wins and start focusing on what you can do to be the best team. So that's why it is important for us to come and play a good football game and give them our best shot."

Steelers players were given off on Monday after soundly defeating the Raiders, a day that is normal slated for watching film from the day before.

But, despite getting the break, the defense still watched a portion of the game film, focusing only on the mistakes they made in a 35-3 dominating win.

"We just looked at all of the things we did wrong," said linebacker James Farrior. "We had 25 plays that needed corrected. We usually have about the same amount each game. We always find something we can improve on. This game was no different. There were some things we left out there that we have to correct."

One player who showed up good on film and in the eyes of his teammates was defensive end Ziggy Hood.

"Ziggy did a great job," said Farrior. "He did a heck of a job, making plays all over the field. He was moving around pretty good."

Offensive line coach Sean Kugler, who used to coach the Bills offensive line, is not just popular with the Steelers offensive linemen, but with other players as well.

"He is awesome," said Roethlisberger. "What a great coach. You can see the line respects him and likes him as a coach. They are playing rejuvenated, better than I have seen in a long time and a lot has to do with him. He keeps the room light and fun, but they respect him and when it's time to get down to business they can do that."

Wide receiver Hines Ward is in his 13th NFL season and when he looks around the offensive huddle can't believe how many young guys he sees.

"It's very young," said Ward. "Looking in the huddle, seeing Emmanuel (Sanders), Mike (Wallace), Rashard (Mendenhall) and (Maurkice) Pouncey, those guys are great talent. I am still coaching in the middle of the game. We will continue to grow. Those guys are great players. The more they develop, the better we will become as a unit."

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