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Back to the 'Burgh


The Jaguars want to take the same attitude to Pittsburgh for this Saturday night's game that they took to Pittsburgh three weeks ago. Why not? It certainly was successful then.

"We're going to prepare to fly up there on Friday, get up on Saturday and kick some butt," defensive end Paul Spicer said.

The Jaguars kicked a lot of butt in a 29-22 win at Heinz Field on Dec. 16, and the Steelers even admitted it. Can the Jaguars do it again? If they do, it'll mark the first time in Steelers history that the Steelers had lost at home twice to the same team in the same season.

"It'll be a great opportunity to try," running back Maurice Jones-Drew said, though Jones-Drew downplayed the significance of becoming the first team to score a two-fall victory in Pittsburgh. "Once you get hit, it goes back to football," he said.

Football between these two teams has always meant rugged blocking and tackling, and more is expected in this weekend's meeting, the only wild-card round playoff game to be shown in prime time.

"It's that physical type of football you have to love. It's what football is about," defensive tackle John Henderson said. Henderson had a sack, a hurry and five tackles in a dominant performance against the Steelers in the earlier meeting.

"That was three weeks ago. It's a new game. They'll be playing with a little more edge," Jones-Drew said, referring obviously to the revenge motive the Steelers will have for this game.

Revenge, however, may be a difficult dish for the Steelers to serve. In the first game, they were without their best defensive lineman, Aaron Smith. Since then, the Steelers have lost running back Willie Parker, who was the league's leading rusher when he broke his leg in St. Louis, and two left tackles, Marvel Smith and Max Starks, leaving untested third-stringer Trai Essex to man the most important pass-blocking position.

"It's not going to be the same atmosphere this time," Spicer cautioned. "We had a little second-half letdown. We can't have that letdown."

Running back Fred Taylor was the star of the first game, setting a Heinz Field rushing record for opponents with 147 yards. Taylor also scored the game-winning touchdown.

"Because we won up there, it gives our team an edge, but I don't think we'll be overconfident. Maybe they'll say the first one was a fluke, but the bottom line is who plays hardest on Saturday night," Taylor said.

"You don't want to put too much pressure on your shoulders. You don't want to worry yourself half to death. If we stick to our routine, we'll be fine," Taylor said.

Taylor has achieved venerable status this season. He has become the Jaguars' inspirational leader and spokesman. He is the player from whom the rest of the team takes its lead.

"This is probably the best team I've been on, as far as team is concerned. We look up to each other," Taylor said.

"It's going to be fun. It's going to be a two-chinstrap game, as Jack (Del Rio) said," quarterback David Garrard said. "The environment, the excitement of the game is going to be turned up another notch."

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