Steelers hope to make second-half charge

PITTSBURGH -- Mike Tomlin said he hasn’t concerned himself with what other teams are doing since the Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t won enough this season to think like that. But the coach apparently keeps his players updated on what is going on around them.

“Coach presents it to us every week, not necessarily where everybody is in the standings, but what they did that weekend and so we know,” free safety Ryan Clark said. “We know which teams lost.”

Enough teams are losing to allow the Steelers to stay on the fringes of the AFC playoff picture as well as in the AFC North race.

Things get interesting if the Steelers beat the Detroit Lions this week because it would give them a signature victory as well as a 2-0 record in the second half of the season. The Steelers followed a 2-6 start in 2006 with a 6-2 finish, and if they do the same this season they just might sneak into the playoffs as a wild card.

That is how bad the AFC is.

When asked if the Steelers can rally in the second half of the season the way they did seven seasons ago, cornerback Ike Taylor said, “Do I think we can? Yeah. We’ve just got to stop being consistent at being inconsistent.”

That inconsistency could cost them dearly if the Steelers play well in the second half of the season. They are 3-6, but they would be 5-4 if they had beaten Minnesota and Oakland, two of the worst teams in the NFL.

One thing Tomlin said he hasn’t taken issue with this season is the effort he has received from his players – in games and leading up to them.

“I expect the attitude to be what it is,” Tomlin said. “It’s not like I’m throwing a pep rally because the attitude is appropriate. We’ve got a lot of challenges in front of us. This is something we sign up for and are called to do. I like the energy, but what we need is results.”

The Steelers’ position is precarious enough that they probably need to reel off four consecutive victories before they can start looking at what others around them are doing.

“I look at one game and one game only,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, “because I don’t think you can afford to look at where you sit and what other teams are doing. All we can do is control what we can control.”