PITTSBURGH - Midweek news and commentary:
n The Pittsburgh Steelers escape Miami with a victory, improve to 5-1.
Mike Tomlin summed it up best when he hurried the post-game news conference, saying, "Let's get out of here."
The Steelers survived fumbling the opening kickoff, some careless work by Ben Roethlisberger and a devastating injury to defensive end Aaron Smith to beat the Dolphins.
Even then, they needed the confusion on a unrecovered fumble that has Dolphins howling.
Hey, things happen, and even replay isn't a perfect solution, as we learned on Sunday.
Remember a few years ago when the Steelers were getting apology letters from the NFL about calls that were missed?
Sometimes the breaks go your way, sometimes they go against you.
Be happy that they won again and focus on holding together the defense without Smith.
n The Steelers decline to put Smith on injured reserve.
This means they're holding out some hope he can return before the season ends.
Smith had surgery on Monday to repair a torn triceps muscle.
The short-term effect is terrible. Smith is a key component of the Steelers' run defense, and they don't have enough depth on the defensive line to adequately replace him.
The long-term view isn't much better. This is the third time in four seasons that Smith will miss a significant portion of the season.
Even if he can fully recover from this injury, do the Steelers commit a roster spot and a major salary cap hit to a player who can't stay on the field? If sentiment were a part of the equation, Smith would be back. He's a leader who is highly respected by teammates.
But in a cap system, hard decisions have to be made with an eye to the allocation of the money.
The suspicion here is that the Steelers' best move is to make alternate plans for 2011.
n The Steelers lead the AFC North at 5-1.
Remember they were 6-2 last year and finished 9-7. There's still a long way to go.
n The Pittsburgh Penguins come home for a game against Philadelphia on Friday.
They return from a three-game trip for this single game, then immediately hit the road for four more, including a trip to Anaheim.
This is also their third game against the Flyers in the first month of the season.
After this one, they have one game with the Flyers between Friday and March 24.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His weblog is at altoonamirror.com.