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Kovacevic: No excuse -- none -- for Steelers to fail to contend in this field

CINCINNATI -- No Joe Haden?

Sorry, but that'll be no excuse on this Sunday any more than any excuse should apply the rest of the way for these mercurial yet maddeningly mediocre Steelers.

Hate to sound harsh after that legit from-the-heart push last weekend in Los Angeles, but the phase of the NFL season where anyone can afford to worry about improving upon individual facets or inspirational non-victories of any variety ... man, that'll all end with the flight of the football at 1:02 p.m. inside Paul Brown Stadium.