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Indiana down.Now, it's on to Texas!
Surely, some of the Houston natives are longtime NFL fans from the "Luv' Ya, Blue!" days of the Oilers. Their arch-rival?
You guessed it.
In 2010, the Steelers lost three games at the comfort of Heinz Field: the Ravens (17-14), Patriots (let us forget) and the Jets (22-17). While they avenged two of those defeats in Janaury, the team still finished the regular season 12-4, securing a bye week and eventual fate-induced home path to the AFC Championship.
This was despite the trio of losses in Pittsburgh. How did this happen?
The team was a band of road warriors. With a little luck and some lights-out play in the clutch, Pittsburgh went 7-1 away from the Steel City.
It was not easy.
A controversial ending, where Ben Roethlisberger fumbled late in the game with no visual evidence of a Dolphins recovery, ended in a 23-22 win over Miami.
The Bills’ famed receiver Steve Johnson, rapidly working up the receiver ranks of the NFL, dropped a sure-fire touchdown pass in overtime. The Steelers won in Buffalo despite blowing a 13-0 halftime lead.
The Bengals rallied from a 27-7 deficit, possessing the ball deep in Pittsburgh territory late in the game- trailing by only six points! James Harrison broke up a fourth down pass from Carson Palmer, securing a win over Cincinnati.
And, who can forget the Polamalu strip of Joe Flacco late in the game at Baltimore?
While Pittsburgh struggled to win those contests, they pulled out victories in the end. Their only loss was a 20-10 defensive duel with the Saints. Heath Miller fumbled away a perfect pass from Big Ben late in the game, and Pittsburgh lost after having the chance to take the lead.
That game was the most indicative of their play so far this season away from home. After a blowout loss to Baltimore, the team showed susceptibility in blowing an early lead against the Colts.
Remember when Bill Cowher’s teams practically never lost when they led by 10 or more?
Winning on the road in the NFL is tough, but pulling out a few victories in some hostile environments is a great way to play deep into January.
So far, the 2011 Pittsburgh Steelers have struggled mightily in their first two road contests. Can they right the ship this weekend in Houston?