Sports

Steelers still humble but confident as 3-game surge propels them back into playoff race

  • Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) fends off Cleveland Browns wide receiver Greg Little after a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/David Richard)

    Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) fends off Cleveland Browns wide receiver Greg Little after a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/David Richard)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown celebrates his 41-yard touchdown catch against the Cleveland Browns in the second quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/David Richard)

    Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown celebrates his 41-yard touchdown catch against the Cleveland Browns in the second quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/David Richard)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger passes against the Cleveland Browns in the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/David Richard)

    Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger passes against the Cleveland Browns in the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/David Richard)  (The Associated Press)

Three straight wins have the Pittsburgh Steelers back in the thick of the AFC playoff race.

Considered out of it at the season's midway point, Pittsburgh (5-6) heads to Thursday night's game at Baltimore (5-6) with a chance to build some serious momentum heading into December.

Center Fernando Velasco credits coach Mike Tomlin for the turnaround. Velasco says the positive vibe in the locker room never changed after an 0-4 start. Velasco added that's not the case when other teams struggle out of the gate.

A resurgent defense has certainly helped. The Steelers have forced seven turnovers in their last two games. They created seven turnovers combined in the season's first nine weeks.

Pittsburgh won the first meeting with Baltimore 19-16 a month ago.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org