Joe Greene didn't wait until halftime to speak his mind at Heinz Field. He spoke to the Steelers' players long before his halftime address to Steelers Nation.
Everyone apparently got the message.
"He was just like 'kick a lot of ass out there,'" linebacker Lawrence Timmons said after the Steelers' 43-23 assault of Baltimore on Sunday night. "I mean, Joe Greene said kick some ass, you're gonna kick some ass out there.
"That's what he gave us. It came from his heart and his soul, like Joe of old. It was very touching for me. That's the first time for me experiencing something like that as a professional football player. I really enjoyed it."
Added defensive end Cam Heyward, "If that doesn't jolt you, I don't know what will."
Defensive end Brett Keisel met the media after the game in front of his locker, the standard drill in such situations, but this time Keisel was wearing an autographed No. 75 Joe Greene jersey.
"Baltimore and Pittsburgh is always cranked up but it got cranked up for me even more," Keisel said. "(Sunday night) was special for a lot of reasons, because we played well, because we had a big win and because Joe got to go out the right way.
"He picked this game. He picked the Ravens game to have this celebration for him. It was only right, you know? Have a big win and he goes out on top."
THREE FOR THREE**
The Steelers' consecutive victories at home over Houston, Indianapolis, and Baltimore included the defense amassing seven sacks, four interceptions, three fumble recoveries, a safety and a touchdown.
"I know this is what everybody wanted at the beginning of the season," Heyward said. "It takes time. We're a growing team. We have a lot of guys emerging."
Heyward didn't want to read too much into the splash-play bonanza of late, just as he tried to keep early-season struggles and frustrations in perspective.
"Maybe we'll look down the road and say these three games at home really turned the season around, but you can't really look at it right now," he said. "We're just trying to live every moment and have fun with it."
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's six touchdown passes, coupled with the six he had thrown against Indianapolis, set an NFL record for TD passes in consecutive games (12).
Tom Flores (1963) and Tom Brady (2007) had shared the record of 11 that Roethlisberger topped.
"It means that guys are catching touchdown passes, and it's fun because especially that last one I was so happy for (tight end) Matt Spaeth," Roethlisberger said. "That was such a big play for him. I was just so excited for him. He has been around a long time and puts a lot of dirty work in, a lot of blocking.
"For him to get that big touchdown, I was just so excited for him."
Other Steelers were excited about the performance of their quarterback.
"It's like a video game out there for him, guys out there scoring touchdowns left and right," Timmons said. "It's amazing to see."
The records Roethlisberger has been setting are impressive enough, but it has been the timeliness of those performances of late that has earned strong safety Troy Polamalu's appreciation.
"We need him right now," Polamalu said. "We haven't been able to play defense the way we have in the past. So the way not only Ben's playing but the way (wide receiver) Martavis (Bryant) is stepping up, our running game, A.B. (wide receiver Antonio Brown), the way our offensive line is blocking; our offense is doing a great job."
A TEAM EFFORT
The defense appeared to feed off the offense emotionally and physically against Baltimore, as the offense did off the defense, especially early in the game. Polamalu said that's always the objective, but added that the Steelers still have work to do toward that end.
"We'd like to say that," he offered. "But whenever we give up a drive, especially last game (against Indianapolis), even against Houston, our offense has responded and just helped us dig out. The games that we've lost our defense may give up a drive but then our offense would sputter.
"That's the difference, our offense is playing great right now and our defense is coming along."
THEY SAID IT
"We still gotta gel. We have a long way to go. The season's not over. We still have seven more games, more games to improve if we're going to get where we want to get, which is the Super Bowl." – safety Mike Mitchell.
"(Baltimore quarterback Joe) Flacco, he was rattled, man." – cornerback Brice McCain.
"It's necessary for this game. The most physical team always wins this game. They were more physical than us in the first game. I think we won the physical battle (Sunday night)." – Polamalu on the need for physicality in games vs. the Ravens.
"I'm just glad we were able to get this 20-point win over the Ravens. We responded well. They beat up on us pretty bad the first game we played them. But that was a good response, especially (from) our defense. That was a heck of a job, that's Steelers ball." – tackle Marcus Gilbert.