The Steelers’ victory against the Baltimore Ravens was marred by 138 yards worth of penalties, including four by cornerbacks Dewayne Washington and Chad Scott that cost the team 100 yards.
Washington was hit with pass interference penalties on consecutive plays that led to the first Ravens’ touchdown; Scott had a pass interference call and a holding call go against him.
Steelers coach Bill Cowher said it has a lot to do with technique. “(Officials) can make a call everytime the ball is up,” Cowher said. “You have to get a feel for it and get your head around and make sure you are not cutting a guy off and not doing things early that will get you in trouble.”
Cowher vowed that the problem will be addressed when the team resumes practice today.
Cowher said one official will call pass interference differently than another. “It’s a judgement call. When you have judgement calls, it all how they want to see it, so every play unfolds a little bit differently.”
Bottom line: “You have to live with the call and move on,” he said.
Running back Jerome Bettis is listed as questionable with a groin injury, but it is not considered as serious as his groin tear two years ago that forced him to miss the final five games of the regular season.
“It’s a different spot,” Cowher said. “The other one was real high. This one is lower and in the quad area. So, that is good news. It is one of those things that we will see how he is as the week goes on and go from there.”
Wide receiver Plaxico Burress (quad), center Jeff Hartings (knee) and tight end Jay Riemerma (ankle) are probable.
THE HAMPTON PLAN
Nose tackle Casey Hampton reported to training camp in July about 15 pounds overweight, but he lost weight at a steady pace – 3 pounds a week, Cowher said.
“I don’t know if I’ve seen a guy work as hard as he has from that first day,” Cowher said. “He did it the right way. He did it the hard way and right now, he’s playing well.”
Hampton, who is back to his 2002 playing weight of 320 pounds, stays on the field on third down when the team inserts its nickel package. “He’s giving us some push as a rusher,” Cowher said.
GOING TO KANSAS CITY
When the Steelers play the Chiefs on Sunday, it will be the seventh consecutive game between the teams in Kansas City. They are not scheduled to play in Pittsburgh until 2006, but it could happen next year if the Chiefs and Steelers finish in the same spot in their respective divisions.
The Chiefs haven’t played in Pittsburgh since 1989.
THE LAST WORD
Running back Amos Zereoue wasn’t shy about voicing his opinion of the Steelers/Ravens rivalry when he was interviewed this week on Sporting News Radio.
“You know what?” Zereoue said. “Those guys like to run their mouths a lot, but after what happened on Sunday (a convincing 34-15 victory), I really don’t look at it as a rivalry anymore. We’ve won the last I don’t even know how many games (five). I think it’s their way to just come in and get themselves ready to play us, but we all know what’s really going on.
“Man, they were talking until the game was over.”