While Hostetler and Evans struggled for a mere 146 passing yards combined, Tomczak, who started and won his second consecutive game in place of the injured Neil O'Donnell, played another smart game that won't be fully reflected by the NFL's quarterback ratings. These are the lumbers you need to know for Tomczak: In two games he was sacked once and did lot throw an interception. His recent play has been far more effective than that of O'Donnell, who has been bothered by hip and ankle injuries. But even before Sunday's game, Cowher, citing the age-old rule that a player does not lose his job because of an injury, proclaimed O'Donnell he starter this Sunday at Cincinnati.
"Hey, that happens," the unfailingly gracious Tomczak reasons. "Football's only a game. Friendships are forever. I feel very confident that Neil and I can nave a long-lasting friendship, no matter what happens."
If Tomczak is too polite to start a quarterback controversy, there's always his primary target, the ever-engaging Green, to fan the flames. Perhaps the NFL's best tight end, Green, who caught the 15-yard fourth-quarter touchdown pass that put Pittsburgh ahead 14-3, had said after the previous week's 16-13 victory over the Miami Dolphins that Tomczak should remain in the lineup. Pittsburgh's two passers are "night and day," Green later explained. "Tomczak is a guy who's not afraid to take a chance."
This is not to suggest that the Steelers are a team with problems. Most have proved benign, including Anderson's bitter training-camp contract war and the silly notion that Woodson's play has slipped. Before Sunday's game, Anderson was the league's most accurate kicker. As for the decline of Woodson, get serious. Yes, he has been beaten on occasion, but he basically won games against Houston and Buffalo by himself. In terms of defensive backs, only Deion Sanders compares.
On Sunday night the incomparable Steelers headed east with their seventh victory in eight games. Before Sunday, this team had adapted to the Left Coast like Woody Allen. In its previous 13 trips out west (including Arizona), Pittsburgh had suffered 11 defeats. This time, the Steeeers struggled through logistical hell, including a delayed flight and the mysterious disappearance of their Raider game tapes from a Century Plaza meeting room. Through it all, the blue-collar Steelers adopted a decidedly L.A. attitude: They chilled, played it off and looked great when the lights were on.
Of the videotape heist, Cowher said, "There wasn't much to see—just [the Raiders] on offense." You might as well pin the same label on Sunday's tape.