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Steelers look to end Patriots' run

October 26, 2004

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Ask the Pittsburgh Steelers about the New England Patriots' unofficial NFL record 21-game winning streak, and it's likely they will turn the question around.

What about their own four-game winning streak since rookie Ben Roethlisberger replaced the injured Tommy Maddox at quarterback?

With the Steelers (5-1) a game up on the favored Ravens (4-2) in the AFC North and 10 games still remaining, the Steelers understand the dangers of focusing too much attention on a single regular-season game - even one that could bring an end to the Patriots' run.

That's why the Steelers are taking a decidedly low-key approach into Sunday's game in Pittsburgh, even if winning would substantially increase the national profile of a team that went 6-10 last season.

"We can't get too caught up and enamored with what they've done," coach Bill Cowher said Tuesday. "If we play our game, minimize the mistakes and try to seize some opportunities, hopefully it will fall the right way and we'll have an opportunity to win. We're going to have to be on top of our game to win this."

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Or, exactly how they have been since Roethlisberger took over. Certainly, the opposition has been suspect - the combined record of their beaten opponents is 10-23 - but that doesn't minimize how well Roethlisberger has played and how quickly he has settled in.

Roethlisberger wasn't expected to play much if at all this season, yet is fourth in passer rating behind only Daunte Culpepper, Peyton Manning and Donovan McNabb. Roethlisberger's 69 percent completion rate isn't that far off the NFL's all-time record of 70.55 by Cincinnati's Ken Anderson in 1982, and his ability to make plays while on the move has added an extra dimension to Pittsburgh's offense.

But if Roethlisberger is interested in learning how far he's come, he's likely to find out as the Steelers meet the NFL's only two remaining unbeatens, the Patriots and the Eagles (6-0), on successive Sundays in Pittsburgh.

Roethlisberger has been warned by teammates what to expect from Patriots coach Bill Belichick's defense - namely, a whole lot of what he hasn't seen before.

"I'm sure there will be something (different) he will see," Cowher said. "They'll give us some things we'll have to adjust to. But we can't get too caught up in what they do. We have to establish our plan, play smart, control the clock and make some third downs."

Wife of Packers' Brett Favre diagnosed with breast cancer

GULFPORT, Miss. - The wife of Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre was diagnosed with breast cancer, yet more bad news in a year full of heartache for the family.

Deanna Favre was recently released from Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York after undergoing a lumpectomy, Bonita Favre, the quarterback's mother, told The Sun Herald on Monday.

Deanna Farve will undergo chemotherapy treatments which could last up to five months and is expected to make a full recovery, Bonita Favre said.

The Packers had no comment on the matter, and Brett Favre was unavailable Tuesday. He usually addresses the media on Wednesdays.

It has been a difficult year for the Favre family. In December, Brett's father, Irvin, died from a heart attack. Deanna's brother, Casey Tynes, 24, was killed three weeks ago in an ATV accident on Brett Favre's property near his home in Oak Grove.

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