Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Focus Areas During the Bye Week

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Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Focus Areas During the Bye Week
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

In the final minutes of Sunday's loss to the Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers fans watched on as their beloved Black and Gold blew a 31-21 lead. As Carson Palmer and crew rallied, an ominous feeling swept across the Steel City, creating an overwhelming feeling of the inevitable. With defeat appearing imminent, I wonder how many fans chimed in with me:

"Here we go again."

It was another afternoon with All-Pro players on the sidelines, an encore of the team's struggles on the road, a repeat of Palmer's penchant for fourth-quarter heroics against the 'Burgh and another fourth-quarter collapse.

In fact, it was Pittsburgh's second blown lead in the fourth quarter through three weeks of 2012.

While this may not be a full-blown pattern yet, the Men of Steel will need to improve to buck the early trend.

Most teams dread an early bye week, but the Steelers should embrace it. The timing is perfect. The additional downtime will help facilitate healing for a roster that is without some of its premiere talent. 

Likewise, a mostly frustrating beginning to the campaign begs for some soul-searching, and both coaches and players should embrace the opportunity to fine-tune. 

Yet, above and beyond those factors, the biggest benefit of the bye week is identifying the reasons for two losses and rectifying them.

Let's face it—of things that inspire a team to improve, I can't think of many better tonics than the bitter pill of defeat. The Steelers get to hear two weeks worth of negative feedback, 14 days of scathing headlines that should inspire a better result!

Does any team play better with its back against the wall? Or, when they're overlooked?

Here are five focus areas for the Steelers as they get through the bye and look ahead to Week 5...and beyond!

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