"Every win, this team gets a little more mature," says Johnson, who, like Henry, has had numerous embarrassing off-field incidents. "A lot of the older guys on this team have been taking the younger guys aside and telling them, 'You've got to embrace this opportunity.' I know with all the hardship I've had, I tell guys, 'Keep working. This could all be gone in an instant.'"
History shows that it would be foolish to dismiss the Steelers' chances. But the loss of strong safety Troy Polamalu after just one series, with further problems in his left knee, will make things that much tougher for Pittsburgh. "A month off would be great," Polamalu told SI in early November. "But that's not realistic during the season."
It might be all too realistic now, and it could be further evidence of a significant power shift in the AFC North.
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