Ripping out the rear-view mirror

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By BOB LABRIOLA
Steelers.com

If he was so inclined, Coach Mike Tomlin could spend every hour of every day this week pointing out and working on the things that went wrong in the consecutive losses in Chicago and Cincinnati.

Clearly, Tomlin is not so inclined.

"This is a big week for us coming off two very big road losses," said Tomlin at the opening of his weekly news conference on Tuesday. "I am not even going to attempt to make any explanations or excuses for the results of those games. It's often said – probably too often in our business – that it is what it is. That being said, I am excited about what I can control, which is our preparation, and ultimately, our play this week against the San Diego Chargers."

The reality of life in the NFL is that games are won and lost based on the outcome of maybe a handful of the 120-plus snaps over the course of four quarters, but it's also true that a victory can mask the very deficiencies that become focal points after a loss.

A lot of the things that have dogged the team the last two weeks also were present in the opener against Tennessee, but they weren't an issue then because the Steelers managed to win that game in overtime.

So rather than dwell on why the defense has allowed long second-half scoring drives in the two losses, or why the offense managed only one first down in the fourth quarter in Cincinnati, Tomlin will have the Steelers working on doing what's necessary to defeat the Chargers this Sunday night.

"I believe that (the issues are manageable), but at the same time, I'm not going to pretend they are going to fix themselves," said Tomlin. "How you fix it is you go out and win football games. If we do that, this will become a distant, miserable moment, if you will. If we don't, this (losing) will continue. That is the story of the NFL.

"From my standpoint, truth be known, how I approach this week is no different than any other. I am all-in on a weekly basis. We have some work to do and we have a top-quality, familiar opponent coming in here that is a playoff-caliber team, and has been one perennially. We respect that, and we are excited about doing it back at Heinz Field in front of our fans."

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