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Steelers notebook: Tomlin says momentum, confidence are 'mystical' qualities

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Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says running back Jonathan Dwyer (27) will continue to get the bulk of the carries, while Isaac Redman will contribute and Rashard Mendenhall remains the odd man out.

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By Alan Robinson
Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, 8:46 p.m.

In 2005, the Steelers were 7-5 but went on to win the Super Bowl. Two seasons later, they were 9-3 but lost four of their final five, including a home playoff game against Jacksonville.

So how important are momentum, confidence and mindset as this 7-5 team heads down the stretch?

“They're almost mystical because you can't measure them,” coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday. “I do think our team has some unique characteristics that are kind of borne out of unique circumstances or situations. But quite frankly, it's always 20-20 looking back at it. If we're able to put together a run and win necessary games and get some momentum, then you can say it was unique. If we don't, then you can say it was irrelevant.”

• Tomlin was so eager to get off the field, he rushed through his postgame handshake Sunday with John Harbaugh and barely acknowledged the Ravens' coach. Tomlin has a policy of greeting each player at the locker room door following a game. “It took special effort to secure that victory, and when I noticed that guys were headed to the locker room, I was in a hurry to get there,” Tomlin said.

• The chances of Ben Roethlisberger's damaged rib puncturing his aorta “were extremely rare and minimal,” according to Tomlin. When he was hurt three weeks ago, the quarterback said that life-threatening condition was a concern if he were struck again in the upper chest. “I wasn't privy to or a part of the discussions along those lines,” Tomlin said.

• Rashard Mendenhall wasn't just demoted from starting running back to third-team status, he was deactivated for the Ravens game. Tomlin said Mendenhall's status might not change this week because Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman remain the top two running backs. “A guy who's feature runner-capable like Rashard, who has very little contribution in the special teams, is probably not going to get an opportunity to show much if he's not the feature runner,” Tomlin said.

• Ike Taylor is injured, but he plans to do everything possible to get Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown ready to play cornerback while he's out with a fractured foot. “Cortez is going to be fine. Curt's going to be fine,” Taylor said on his TribLIVE Radio show.”I'm going to have those boys ready — not physically, but mentally ready. I'll do whatever I can do in my power to make sure they're ready to play Sunday.”

— Alan Robinson

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