Vol. 21, No. 10 • October 25, 2008 (514) • $3.00
Moore’s 3 TDs
• An impressive 5-1 record
• A Giant task now awaits
0 74470 76780 0
• Stapleton getting his shot
Time to see what Steelers have
CINCINNATI — Since the end of No. 1 rushing attack will test the
March, it has fueled talk shows and Steelers front seven and Mississippi’s
been the impetus behind hundreds Eli Manning will pose a much more
of questions that really had no an- severe threat to their secondary than
swers. Harvard’s Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Like all obedient teams, the Steel-
ers will be reciting the mantra of
Bob Labriola “one game at a time” throughout
the upcoming week, but this section
EDITOR of their schedule will determine
whether they have the ability to sus-
Now, it’s here. Now, it’s going to tain the focus and level of perfor-
get interesting. Now the Steelers get mance necessary to handle a trip to
to the meat of what statistics claim Washington after a game against the
is the most difficult NFL schedule in Giants, and then a visit from Peyton
decades. Manning after games against the Gi-
Even as the last of the Steelers ants and Redskins, and then deal
were walking off the playing surface with LaDainian Tomlinson and his
while basking in the adulation of cohorts after all that.
their fans who had taken over Paul Often in professional sports, the
Brown Stadium, the 38-10 beating style of play is different in the regu-
they had hung on the home team al- lar season than it is in the playoffs,
ready had the impact of yesterday’s but what the Steelers are facing now
news. is the kind of every-week-against-
Yes, it was a victory, and a road top-teams test you typically find
victory against a division team, but only in the postseason. The only
the fact is the Steelers got to 5-1 by thing missing will be the single-
slapping around an 0-7 Bengals elimination guillotine hanging over
team being quarterbacked by a guy their heads.
who should be smart enough to find The upcoming month is daunting
a better use for his Harvard on paper, but the Steelers are good
diploma. There are countless fields enough to handle it. Yes, each of
where an Ivy League education is the Steelers’ next four opponents is
the best preparation, but the field on a playoff contender, a midseason
which Ryan Fitzpatrick found him- Super Bowl contender, but so are
self trying to decipher the many per- they. Suffice it to say that if the
mutations of Professor Dick Steelers coaches are concerned
LeBeau’s zone blitzes wasn’t one of about what Justin Tuck and Fred
those. Robbins might do to Ben Roethlis-
The Steelers did what they berger, the Giants coaches are just
wanted to the Bengals throughout as nervous about James Harrison
this beautiful fall afternoon, even if and LaMarr Woodley hunting Eli
what they wanted throughout the Manning.
second quarter was to let them back What will get the Steelers through
into the game. Three seasons after this gauntlet, if they are to survive it,
Cincinnati won the AFC North Divi- will be their fierce competitive na-
sion championship, it has degener- ture. These are players who com-
ated into a rabble that is a team in The Steelers got to do a lot of celebrating against the hapless Ben- pete against one another every day
name only. gals, including after Nate Washington’s touchdown, but the schedule in practice, who compete to see
The Bengals took the field against gets a whole lot tougher over the next few weeks. Digest Photo/MIKE FABUS who wears the sharpest suit on road
the Steelers with an “offense” trips. No matter what else happens,
ranked 30th or lower in the NFL in What the Steelers did against the the performance authored by an the Steelers compete and they hit,
rushing, passing and scoring, and Bengals will be judged based on NFL team from one week to the and teams that do both of those
with a defense that was having seri- what they do against the teams they next, both good and bad, which things consistently have a chance to
ous trouble stopping the run and will face over the ensuing four makes it dangerous to depend upon win every game they play.
getting off the field on third downs. weekends — the New York Giants, what happened in Cincinnati to be This is it. The toughest schedule
And to complete the triangle of in- Washington Redskins, Indianapolis a predictor of what therefore should in the league is what the Steelers
eptitude, the Bengals had to face the Colts and San Diego Chargers. happen vs. the defending Super were handed in 2008, and it’s now
Steelers without their placekicker If they duplicate or build upon Bowl champion Giants this Sunday upon them.
and best kick returner. the positives from their trip here, at Heinz Field.
“This is going to tell a lot about
So, how to judge a performance this Sunday afternoon will be The Giants, for example, are the
our team,” said Hines Ward.
in which the Steelers didn’t allow marked as the beginning of their defending Super Bowl champions
More than that, it will define
Ben Roethlisberger to be sacked journey to elite status. If they don’t, primarily because their defense was
even once for the first time since well, then the significance of every- able to generate consistent pressure
last December, in which the Ben- thing that happened here will be on Tom Brady last February without “McDonald’s Steelers Digest,”
gals passing attack posted a pathetic dismissed, because the Bengals right blitzing, by rushing only their four with Rick Giugliano, Tunch Ilkin and
2.8 yards per pass play, in which now are the worst team in the NFL defensive linemen. Justin Tuck and Bob Labriola, is televised on The
the Steelers defense posted seven and showing no signs of surrender- Fred Robbins will test the pass pro- CW in the Pittsburgh market at 11
sacks and rang up seven three-and- ing the distinction any time soon. tection that was consistently solid p.m. on every Saturday of the NFL
outs? There often is no correlation to against the Bengals, just as the NFL’s season.
October 25, 2008 Steelers Digest 3
VOLUME 21, NUMBER 10 OCTOBER 25, 2008 (514) $3.00
On the Cover ...
Running back Mewelde Moore
celebrates one of his three touch-
downs as a large number of Steelers
celebrate at Paul Brown Stadium.
Cover Photo/MIKE FABUS
THOMAS N. CURTIS .......................................................................................................... Publisher
ANDREW E. COHEN .............................................................................................. Managing Editor
BOB LABRIOLA ........................................................................................................................ Editor
ARMANDO MATO ....................................................................................................Creative Director
ALAIN POUPART .................................................................................................... Associate Editor
TERESA VARLEY ..................................................................................................... Assistant Editor
MIKE FABUS .............................................................................................................. Photographer
BILL DALEY, CHASE CLARK....................................................................... Design & Composition
ALBERT GOMEZ, MONIQUE DAW ..................................................................... Customer Service
MARIA ESTEVEZ ................................................................................................ Executive Secretary
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Some rust, but a good victory
It was a great win for our team.
To see the fan support we had here
was moving not only for me, but
everybody in the locker room
shared those thoughts and senti-
ments. The game was kind of typi-
cal for us and something we were
concerned about coming out of the
bye. The quality of execution was
not there early on. The positive
thing was I thought that we played
hard and we played fast, just not the
kind of quality of execution we
We had a little rust, but the guys
didn’t blink. We didn’t change any-
thing we were doing, we just had to
do it a little better. We were able to
make some plays in the second half
and get a great victory in a hostile
environment versus a division oppo-
nent on the road. We don’t take
those for granted. They are sweet.
We are glad to get a win. We will
put it with the rest of them. We real-
ize the challenges that lie ahead for
us. We’ll start readying ourselves for
Q. For the second straight game,
Mewelde Moore made a big contri-
Running back Mewelde Moore earned a game ball for his performance at Cincinnati, which included scoring
bution. Can you comment on his three touchdowns. Digest Photo/MIKE FABUS
A. We just gave him a game ball.
field. Max Starks stepped in at left do it. We have to keep marching. A. We are not trying to paint
He has become a locker room fa-
tackle and, based on how we We are not any different than any with a broad brush based on this
vorite. We make no bones about
moved the ball and protected, I can other team. The Bengals sustained a performance. We are glad to win.
why we feel the way we feel for
say he did a good job. Darnell Sta- few injuries. We can’t let that be an We’ve got to prepare and play next
each other. It’s based on deeds. This
pleton took a nice step. I think that excuse. There are too many guys week. We’ll let you guys judge it.
guy is delivering time and time
group is coming together and they ready to perform like Mewelde We’ll judge it when we are done at
again with his legs, with his hands.
had a nice performance today. Moore did out there. I think that’s the course of this thing. No ques-
He is doing a nice job. He is a pro,
what we embrace. tion we had a nice game against
he prepares himself. He is doing a Q. What does it mean to get an-
nice job for us. other win against a division oppo- Q. Where is the offense in terms the Bengals. Guys did a nice job
nent? of developing its full personality? protecting him. We got some new
Q. Can you talk about how you and different faces in there working
A. We cherish all of those. Divi- A. I don’t want to put any ceiling
were able to keep the running game together, and they answered the
sion games are extremely important. on us with my thoughts of what we
on schedule, which opened some challenge.
We have a lot of respect for what are capable of. We are just trying to
things up in the second half with
this rivalry is and the support we get come out every week and be better Q. The schedule gets consider-
long passes and things like that?
when we come here and play. Guys and get better and be more efficient. ably more difficult in the weeks
A. First and foremost, we were
did a nice job and they were sensi- We left a few scoring opportunities ahead. Is that something you talk to
controlling the line of scrimmage.
tive to that. out there in the first half. We had an the team about, or do you take it as
We were running some of our inte-
opportunity to get a first down and it comes?
rior zone plays, and on some of Q. What happened to Troy Pola-
messed up a third-and-1. A. What I have told the guys is
those double teams, we were get- malu and Bryant McFadden?
We just barely moved ourselves this: If we continue to play the way
ting pretty good pushes, even as we A. Troy got dinged. We’ll see
out of field goal range with a few we are playing and keep the focus
were shooting ourselves in the foot where he is. I don’t want to make
penalties. We are just trying to be the that we keep, we will see every-
a bit in the first half. I thought we any judgments in regards to that.
best we can be. Any level of expecta- body, but we can only see one of
were controlling the line of scrim- Bryant McFadden has an arm injury.
tion or judging at this point is putting them at a time, once a week.
mage and our hat goes off to the of- We are in the process of getting that
a mental ceiling on what we are ca- That’s the way we are going to
fensive line for what it did. Who- looked at.
pable of being. We are going to just approach it. We have a formidable
ever we handed the ball to had a Hopefully it is not anything long
keep working and seek perfection. opponent next week in the New
chance because of that surge. term, but if it is, we accept it. That is
We had some guys who had the nature of football. The next men Q. Ben Roethlisberger has been York Giants. We respect the heck
quality performances. I think Ben have to be ready to step up, sacked a lot this season. Does this out of those guys and what they
(Roethlisberger) had quality time whether it’s William Gay or An- game show improvement in the pass have done. All we are going to do is
and had quality looks down the thony Madison. Guys know how we protection? prepare ourselves to play.
October 25, 2008 Steelers Digest 5
Polamalu piling up ‘splash plays’
By JIM WEXELL
It was before the Baltimore game when Hines
Ward was fielding questions about hitting some
of the poor Ravens too hard. Ward smiled over
the death threat made by Bart Scott, smiled over
the prospect of Ed Reed paying him back some-
day. The smile disappeared when Ward was
asked if he’d rock Troy Polamalu, if Polamalu
ever played for another team.
Suddenly somber, Ward said, “I would have to.”
Almost three weeks later, Polamalu was asked
if he’d be angry if Ward rocked him the way he
does every other safety in the league.
“No, not at all,” said Polamalu. “I understand
that’s a part of the game.”
Perhaps Nike would have to redo its latest and
greatest commercial and feature Ward and Pola-
malu colliding at midfield. But there’d be one
problem: If Ward got up from the collision and
smacked Polamalu in the helmet, he’d get fined in
Ward’s fine, in fact, was the spark that led to
Polamalu’s quiet rant last week when he said the
NFL was turning pro football into “a pansy game.”
“We’ve really lost the essence of what real Amer-
ican football is about,” Polamalu said as quietly and
sweetly as his childhood hero, Walter Payton.
Polamalu, in fact, plays like Payton. In what Safety Troy Polamalu set a high standard for himself in his first few seasons in the NFL, but
may be a last-chance, desperation grab at retain- he actually might be playing even better than ever in 2008. Digest Photo/MIKE FABUS
ing gladiator essence, Polamalu is having his finest
season. He’s added weight, but hasn’t lost speed. think a minute, his first real starting season was Browns at the goal line just before the half, and
He has fewer sacks, but more interceptions. He’s 2004. That’s only four years. His first seven years then he made a ridiculous one-handed diving in-
still making kill-shot tackles, but incredibly hasn’t he should grow dramatically, and I think that’s terception against the Eagles that was so outra-
been fined. The four-time Pro Bowler has never what we’re seeing.” geous the officials had to look for some type of
been better. Mike Tomlin calls them “splash plays” and Po- bobble on instant replay. They didn’t find one,
“I’ve said continually that he should improve lamalu makes a few per game. He intercepted a
for the next three or four years,” said defensive Texans comeback attempt in the opener, picked
coordinator Dick LeBeau. “When you stop and off what looked like a momentum-builder for the See POLAMALU, page 8
No downplaying Clark’s importance
Steelers coaches love what Troy offense breaks the huddle, instead of having it focused on Clark’s contribu-
Polamalu brings to the defense, civilians roll their eyes and tions as a player.
but they have come to realize close off their minds. This season should change that, because with
they need what Ryan Clark Polamalu, with his pen- Clark back in the starting lineup, the Steelers de-
brings to the defense. chant for the spectacular, fense no longer is being plagued by blown cov-
When the Steelers signed Clark drew most of the attention erages, nor is it being victimized by big plays.
as an unrestricted free agent in and all of the All-Pro recogni- In 2007, the four longest pass plays allowed
2006 to replace Chris Hope, tion, and when a rookie by the Steelers — 63, 56, 56 and 55 yards — all
who left for the Tennessee Ti- named Anthony Smith arrived came after Clark was injured and out of the
tans, his arrival was explained as via the 2006 draft and started lineup. As the Steelers traveled to Cincinnati to
an addition to the secondary that smacking receivers around, face the winless Bengals, their defense had al-
would allow Polamalu to con- Clark was perceived to be a lowed only four pass plays of 25-plus yards, and
tinue to freelance within the sys- caretaker for the free safety in none of those was the receiver running free
tem. Because he had played with spot that certainly would be- behind the coverage.
Sean Taylor in the Redskins sec- RYAN CLARK come Smith’s. This stability is what Ryan Clark brings to the
ondary, and because Taylor also But in sports, as it often is in Steelers defense, and if everyone can agree this
was allowed the freedom to use his instincts to life, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. quality is invaluable to the team, it now should
make plays, Clark’s experience with a player The 10 regular season games the Steelers be recognized that the player who provides it is
of that pedigree was a major selling point. played without Clark last season offered dra- invaluable as well.
Fans and the media underrated Clark’s role, matic evidence in the case to be made for his If Coach Mike Tomlin were asked whether he
probably because it wasn’t properly under- value to this defense, for his importance on this would rather go into a game without Troy Pola-
stood. When coaches talk about the value of a team. But even then, it was a matter of perspec- malu or Ryan Clark, don’t be so certain you
player who understands the defense and can tive, for more attention was paid to the mental know what his answer would be.
make the correct calls and audibles once the and physical mistakes made by Anthony Smith — By BOB LABRIOLA
October 25, 2008 Steelers Digest 7
POLAMALU, from page 7
and miraculously the league office didn’t fine him nickel and dime we’ve got (Lawrence) Timmons
for making the catch. in there, so he’s been able to stay back more.
“That was truly one of the greatest plays I’ve He’s still very instinctive in making plays.”
ever seen,” LeBeau said. “But that pick he made Townsend’s favorite was the play against Balti-
in the Cleveland game was big. Cleveland’s down more in which Polamalu ran from the deep mid-
there with a good chance to score at least three dle to break up an out-pattern on third down.
points, and he gets us off the field with nothin’ in There was also the timed leap over center, and
a game that ended up 10-6.” who can forget the tackle Polamalu made with
But that isn’t LeBeau’s favorite Polamalu play. his back to the ball carrier?
“I like that (second) interception he got for us,” “Same old Troy,” said LeBeau. “I think he pro-
LeBeau said of the 2004 season. “It was against duces every year. To me he had a great year last
Cincinnati. He took it back for a touchdown, and year. He just missed some games.”
if you remember he ran through about three play- Polamalu endured an injury-plagued 2007 that
ers and the last one was his old teammate. I re- began to deteriorate after a Hall of Fame-type per-
member that one as Troy starting to feel at home.” formance in the first half of the Arizona game. He
Troy’s partner in the deep patrol, Ryan Clark, suffered a rib injury during a ping-ponging inter-
points to another interception Polamalu made ception return and then suffered two other in-
against Cincinnati as his favorite play. juries later in the season and missed five games.
“It was before I got here. I saw it on film,” But Polamalu is back, bigger and better than ever.
Clark said. “He made a pick on a ball that any But, not louder. Like Walter Payton, Polamalu
safety would have thought was going to a spot on talks softly and hammers opponents like a batter-
the other side of the field. But he studied and ing ram.
studied and picked something up, and dang if he TROY POLAMALU
“He’s quiet,” said Aaron Smith, a pretty quiet
wasn’t standing right there when Carson Palmer guy himself. “He’s much more quiet than I am.
threw it.” from the back end of the field this season. Clark Troy hands down is the quietest player.”
Of course, LeBeau has a soft spot for those sub- said it’s leaving fewer holes in the defense as Pola- What would happen if, say, Troy flashed some
lime Polamalu maneuvers. Against Indianapolis, malu waits for the game to come to him. fire? Would that arouse the team significantly?
Polamalu bolted so suddenly from deep safety “He’s being very solid in the base defense, but “The last time he flashed his fire, we got a
that Edgerrin James couldn’t gather himself in also making extraordinary plays. You can’t ask for penalty in San Diego,” Smith said of a rare personal
time to make a key first down after catching a more,” Clark said. foul by Polamalu. “Another year he got one against
pass in the flat in the 2005 playoffs. “The plays are coming to him, but he’s still the Oakland. He already plays with enough fire. When
“That kind of talent makes good coaches,” said same aggressive playmaker he’s always been,” he lets it out, it might be a little too much for us.”
LeBeau said Deshea Townsend. “The defense now Or the league — a league that needs more play-
Polamalu, in fact, is doing the brunt of his work doesn’t require him to be up as much, and in the ers like Troy Polamalu.
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STUFF By TERESA VARLEY
Awfully ‘fine’ win
The Steelers defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this month, but it was a costly Keisel: Age just a number
win. Costly in terms of thousands of dollars of fines levied against four players.
Nate Washington was fined $7,500 for taunting the Jaguars sideline after making a Brett Keisel returned to action against the Bengals after miss-
catch in the fourth quarter; Ryan Clark was fined the same amount for a hit on receiver ing three games with a calf strain, and Travis Kirschke, Orpheus
Matt Jones; Hines Ward was fined $10,000 for unnecessary roughness; and James Har- Roye and Nick Eason filled in there at the same time Chris Hoke
rison was fined $20,000 for postgame comments he made about the officiating in the stepped up due to an injury to Casey Hampton at nose tackle.
game. “What happened to Casey and I showed how important it
Harrison was angry about being flagged for roughing the passer on a is to have quality guys that are ready to play at any time,”
play where few people who watched the game thought it was an illegal said Keisel. “I am proud of our guys and the organization for
hit. Few people, that is, besides referee Ron Winter. keeping us intact. Not only are we great competitors on the
“It’s hard to comment on it because you have to be careful of field, but we are all really good friends and it makes coming
what you say, but my personal opinion, I didn’t think it was a late to work fun. We are going to keep riding the ship and getting
hit,” said Ben Roethlisberger, “and I usually stand up for quar- better.”
terbacks. I think if you ask David Garrard, I don’t think he After the 2007 season, Coach Mike Tomlin said the team
would tell you it was a late hit.” needed to get younger on the defensive line, and the media
Since then Harrison has been cautious around the media. picked up on that and kept the issue alive right up until the start
“I have no comment because I can’t get fined for something of the regular season. That didn’t sit well with Keisel, who is 30
I don’t say,” said Harrison. “Right now, if you have questions and the second-youngest player there. Eason is 28.
for me, I have no comment on basically anything unless it’s “It did bug me to hear people say that, it bugged me a lot be-
fact. If you ask me if my name is James Harrison, I can say cause I feel like as a unit up front we are one of the best in the
yes to that. If you ask me an opinion on how I feel about a league,” said Keisel. “To pinpoint us and say we can’t play at as
player or a team, I can’t answer that because I don’t want to high a level as we used to wasn’t right. I think each year we are
be fined.” getting better. I think we play together as good as anyone in the
More awards uation where we were going to throw the ball a bunch.
Ben Roethlisberger was named the AFC Offensive
Player of the Week for his performance against the
They knew it, and we had to go the length of the field.
That’s why we went in that direction.”
17, but not 18
Starks started at left tackle in Cincinnati when Dan Rooney has been against expanding the
Jaguars. Roethlisberger completed 26 of 41 passes
Smith was unable to play because of back spasms.
for a season-high 309 yards and three touchdowns regular season, but he returned from an owners
in the 26-21 win. An easy ticket meeting and said he would compromise.
“It’s nice, but I like the win better,” said Roethlis- “I am willing to compromise and consider 17
Steelers fans normally find a way to get tickets to
berger. “That is all that matters to me. I am not going games, not 18,” said Rooney.
away games, but Bengals fans made it extremely
to lie and say it’s not a great honor, because it is. Commissioner Roger Goodell’s opinion is that
easy by selling their tickets at bargain prices. Ac-
But to me it’s about team things and we won the preseason games don’t meet proper NFL stan-
cording to the Cincinnati Enquirer, StubHub, just one
game.” dards, and some owners believe adding regular
of the many secondary outlets selling tickets, had
Roethlisberger was also voted the FedEx Player 3,000 tickets available for sale, some of them with a season games would help their attendance.
of the Week and Mike Tomlin the Motorola Coach of face value of $64 going for a mere $24. “That’s what they believe,” said Rooney. “But
the Week by fans on NFL.com for the Jaguars game. it was said, and what I’ve always said, ‘You say
you have trouble with the preseason. What are
Explaining the decision Challenge the champions you going to have if you’re a team in the North
Coach Mike Tomlin explained why Trai Essex was James Farrior will host “Challenge the Champi- and you’re 2-12 with two home games left?’ ”
inserted at left tackle against the Jaguars when Mar- ons” 6-9 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 28 at The Rooney is concerned that cutting back the
vel Smith was forced from the game with cramps. Carnegie Science Center. All proceeds go to preseason would curtail development.
Max Starks, who is the team’s third tackle, also was Every Child, Inc., a social service agency in the “We have to be concerned about training foot-
available. Pittsburgh Community. ball players, particularly quarterbacks,” said
“Due to the game circumstances and the situation Farrior will be joined by some of his team- Rooney. “You come to camp four quarterbacks.
we were in from a matchup standpoint, we thought mates, as well as other local Pittsburgh sports You have to play your No. 1. Now, how do you
Essex had the tools to fight that battle,” said Tomlin. personalities, to play games and sign autographs. get in someone like (Dennis) Dixon? He looks
“They had Quentin Groves over there, an edge rusher, Call 412-665-0600 or visit www.everychildinc.org great for the future, but he needs time. You can
speed guy, kind of undersized. We thought that Essex for information and to purchase tickets. say that about everybody, even the officials.”
gave us a legitimate matchup, and we were in the sit-
As it turned out, the Steelers weren’t was inactive for the third straight game. spasms) were unable to practice during ter from the practice squad, and he also
as healthy for their trip to Cincinnati as Also on the sideline in Cincinnati the week and were among the inactives. was in uniform against the Bengals.
they had hoped. were Casey Hampton (groin) and Carey With Kendall Simmons already on Parquet (6-6, 321) was with the team
Brett Keisel (calf) and Nick Eason Davis (ankle), both of whom also the injured reserve list and with Smith throughout the preseason before being
(groin) both returned to the lineup, but missed the Jaguars game. unavailable, the Steelers made a roster waived on the final cut. He played both
Willie Parker (knee) suffered a setback Three players injured in Jacksonville move late last week. guard and tackle during the preseason.
during the week leading up to the Ben- could not play against the Bengals. With the defensive line getting If Paxson clears waivers, the Steel-
gals game. He couldn’t practice on Keyaron Fox (hamstring), Dallas healthier, Scott Paxson was waived and ers would be interested in putting him
Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, and Baker (shoulder) and Marvel Smith (back Jeremy Parquet was added to the ros- back on the practice squad.
October 25, 2008 Steelers Digest 9
GAME SUMMARY No. Yds. Avg. Net. TB Int. Lg.
Team Stat Comparison
1st Downs 20 16
3rd down efficiency 6-12 4-16 PRESEASON (Won 3, Lost 1) Rushing No. Yds Avg Long TD
4th down efficiency 0-0 2-2 Aug. 8 W 16-10 PHILADELPHIA W.Parker 66 263 4.0 32 3
Total Yards 375 212 Aug. 14 L 21-24 vs. Buffalo (Toronto) M.Moore 46 238 5.2 27 2
Passing 250 128 R.Mendenhall 19 58 3.1 12 0
Aug. 23 W 12-10 at Minnesota
Comp-Att 20-31 24-39 B.Roethlisberger 13 26 2.0 17 0
Aug. 28 W 19-16 CAROLINA
Yards per pass 8.1 2.8 G.Russell 10 25 2.5 15 0
Rushing 125 84 C.Davis 10 18 1.8 8 0
Rushing Attempts 27 22 REGULAR SEASON (Won 5, Lost 1)
N.Washington 2 14 7.0 8 0
Yards per rush 4.6 3.8 Sept. 7 W 38-17 HOUSTON S.Holmes 1 10 10.0 10 0
Penalties 3-15 4-55 Sept. 14 W 10-6 at Cleveland N.Davenport 1 3 3.0 3 0
Sacks against 0-0 7-47 Sept. 21 L 6-15 at Philadelphia B.Leftwich 2 0 0.0 0 0
Turnovers 0 1 Sept. 29 W 23-20 (OT) BALTIMORE Team 170 655 3.9 32 5
Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-1 Oct. 5 W 26-21 at Jacksonville Opponents 142 418 2.9 15 3
Interceptions thrown 0 0 Oct. 12 Bye Week
Possession 30:35 29:25 Oct. 19 W 38-10 at Cincinnati Receiving No. Yds Avg Long TD
Steelers Statistics Oct. 26 N.Y. GIANTS 4:15 p.m. (FOX) H.Ward 28 376 13.4 49 5
Nov. 3 at Washington 8:30 p.m. (ESPN) S.Holmes 22 360 16.4 48 1
Nov. 9 INDIANAPOLIS 4:15 p.m. (CBS) H.Miller 18 188 10.4 21 1
C/ATT YDS TD INT RAT
Nov. 16 SAN DIEGO 4:15 p.m.* (CBS) N.Washington 15 225 15.0 50t 2
B. Roethlisberger 17/28 216 2 0 108.6
M.Moore 11 68 6.2 24 1
B. Leftwich 3/3 34 1 0 153.5 Nov. 20 CINCINNATI 8:15 p.m. (NFLN)
R.Mendenhall 2 17 8.5 11 0
Team 20/31 250 3 0 121.7 Nov. 30 at New England 4:15 p.m.* (CBS)
Rushing M.Spaeth 2 12 6.0 6 0
Dec. 7 DALLAS 4:15 p.m.* FOX C.Davis 2 9 4.5 10 0
CAR YDS AVG TD LG Dec. 14 at Baltimore 1:00 p.m.* (CBS)
M. Moore 20 120 6.0 2 24 L.Sweed 1 11 11.0 11 0
Dec. 21 at Tennessee 1:00 p.m.* (CBS) G.Russell 1 -2 -2.0 -2 0
G. Russell 4 0 0.0 0 3
Dec. 28 CLEVELAND 1:00 p.m.* (CBS) B.Roethlisberger 1 -7 -7.0 -7 0
B. Roethlisberger 2 -1 -0.5 0 0
*-Game subject to flex scheduling Team 103 1257 12.2 50t 10
N. Washington 1 6 6.0 0 6
Team 27 125 4.6 2 24 Opponents 127 1149 9.0 35 5
Receiving Pittsburgh Opponent
REC YDS AVG TD LG Total First Downs 108 99 Interceptions No. Yds Avg Long TD
M. Moore 5 14 2.8 1 7 Rushing 33 24 T.Polamalu 3 12 4.0 12 0
S. Holmes 5 89 17.8 0 32 Passing 62 67 B.McFadden 2 0 0.0 0 0
H. Ward 4 60 15.0 1 29 Penalty 13 8 L.Woodley 1 6 6.0 6 0
H. Miller 2 13 6.5 0 7 3rd Down: Made/Att 29/77 30/85 Team 6 18 3.0 12 0
N. Washington 2 57 28.5 1 50 3rd Down Pct. 37.7% 35.3% Opponents 3 73 24.3 72t 1
M. Spaeth 1 6 6.0 0 6 4th Down: Made/Att 1/3 4/7
L. Sweed 1 11 11.0 0 11 4th Down Pct. 33.3% 57.1% Punting No Yds Avg Net TB In Lg B
Team 20 250 12.5 3 0 Possession Avg. 30:13 29:47 M.Berger 30 1293 43.1 39.3 2 12 61 0
Punting Total Net Yards 1792 1370 Team 30 1293 43.1 39.3 2 12 61 0
TOT YDS AVG -20 Avg. Per Game 298.7 228.3 Opponents 35 1575 45.0 41.9 2 11 64 0
M. Berger 5 204 40.8 2 Total Plays 355 372
Avg. Per Play 5.0 3.7 Punt Returns Ret FC Yds Avg Long TD
Net Yards Rushing 655 418 S.Holmes 13 2 69 5.3 13 0
TOT YDS AVG LG TD
Avg. Per Game 109.2 69.7 M.Moore 2 5 -2 -1.0 1 0
S. Holmes 3 21 7 12 0
Total Rushes 170 142 Team 15 7 67 4.5 13 0
Net Yards Passing 1137 952 Opponents 18 6 74 4.1 12 0
TOT YDS AVG LG TD
N. Davenport 3 70 23.3 27 0 Avg. Per Game 189.5 158.7
Sacked/Yards Lost 19/120 25/197 Kickoff Returns No. Yds Avg Long TD
Bengals Statistics Gross Yards 1264 1149 N.Davenport 6 140 23.3 27 0
Passing Attempts/Completions 166/103 205/127 R.Mendenhall 6 115 19.2 27 0
C/ATT YDS TD INT RAT Completion Pct. 62.0% 62.0% M.Moore 4 73 18.3 22 0
R. Fitzpatrick 21/35 164 1 0 81.1 Had Intercepted 3 6 C.Davis 2 40 20.0 24 0
J. Palmer 3/4 11 0 0 77.7 Punts/Average 30/43.1 35/45.0 T.Carter 1 16 16.0 16 0
Team 24/39 175 1 0 80.6 Net Punting Avg. 39.3 41.9 M.Spaeth 0 0 0 0 0
Rushing Penalties/Yards 36/309 42/386 Team 19 384 20.2 27 0
CAR YDS AVG TD LG Fumbles/Ball Lost 9/3 9/4 Opponents 28 572 20.4 40 0
C. Benson 14 52 3.7 0 15 Touchdowns 16 9
K. Watson 4 17 4.3 0 6 Rushing 5 3 Field Goals 1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+
R. Fitzpatrick 4 15 3.8 0 10 Passing 10 5 J.Reed 1/ 1 2/ 2 2/ 2 4/ 4 1/ 1
Team 22 84 3.8 0 15 Returns 1 1 Team 1/ 1 2/ 2 2/ 2 4/ 4 1/ 1
Receiving Opponents 0/ 0 2/ 2 6/ 6 0/ 0 0/ 0
REC YDS AVG TD LG Score By Periods Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT Pts
T. Houshmandzadeh 8 58 7.3 0 19 Team 30 37 38 33 3 141 Fumbles Lost: B.Roethlisberger 3 Total: 3
C. Johnson 8 52 6.5 1 9 Opponents 17 30 6 36 0 89 Opponent Fumble Recoveries: L.Woodley 3, B.McFadden 1 Total: 4
C. Henry 3 44 14.7 0 18
A. Chatman 2 8 4.0 0 5 Scoring TD Ru Pa Rt PAT FG 2Pt Pts Sacks: J.Harrison 8.5, L.Woodley 7.5, L.Timmons 3.0, A.Smith 2.0, J.Farrior 1.5,
K. Watson 1 1 1.0 0 1 J.Reed 0 0 0 0 15/15 10/10 0 45 L.Foote 1.5, N.Eason 0.5, T.Kirschke 0.5 Team: 25.0, Opponents: 19.0
C. Benson 1 10 10.0 0 10 H.Ward 5 0 5 0 0/0 0/0 0 30
J. Simpson 1 2 2.0 0 2 M.Moore 3 2 1 0 0/0 0/0 0 18
Team 24 175 7.3 1 0 W.Parker 3 3 0 0 0/0 0/0 0 18
Punting N.Washington 2 0 2 0 0/0 0/0 0 12
TOT YDS AVG -20 H.Miller 1 0 1 0 0/0 0/0 0 6
K. Larson 8 303 37.9 2 S.Holmes 1 0 1 0 0/0 0/0 0 6
Punt Returns L.Woodley 1 0 0 1 0/0 0/0 0 6
TOT YDS AVG LG TD Team 16 5 10 1 15/15 10/10 0 141
A. Chatman 3 6 2 7 0 Opponents 9 3 5 1 9/9 8/8 0 89
TOT YDS AVG LG TD 2-Pt. Conversions: Team 0/ 1, Opponents: 0/ 0
A. Caldwell 3 88 29.3 36 0
K. Watson 1 15 15 15 0 Passing Att Cmp Yds Cmp% Yds/Att TD TD% Int Int% Long Sack Lost Rating
J. Simpson 1 8 8 8 0 B.Roethlisberger 152 96 1163 63.2% 7.7 9 5.9% 3 2.0% 50t 18 111 98.1
D. Coats 1 18 18 18 0 B.Leftwich 14 7 94 50.0% 6.7 1 7.1% 0 0.0% 21 1 9 95.6
Team 6 129 21.5 36 0 Team 166 103 1257 62.0% 7.6 10 6.0% 3 1.8% 50t 19 120 97.9
Opponents 205 127 1149 62.0% 5.6 5 2.4% 6 2.9% 35 25 197 73.0
10 Steelers Digest October 25, 2008
STEELERS 38, BENGALS 10 STEELERS RECORD: 5-1 • LAST SEASON: 4-2
WHAT WENT RIGHT
• During the first quarter, the
Bengals ran eight plays, had 0
first downs, lost 22 yards com-
bined on a botched reverse and
a sack by James Harrison and
punted twice, one of which net-
ted only 15 yards. The booing
of the home team began with
3:27 left in the first quarter.
• The Steelers’ first posses-
sion of each half resulted in a
touchdown. They opened the
game by going 75 yards in nine
plays; after a sack by Harrison
forced a Bengals punt to open
the second half, the Steelers
went 55 yards in six plays for a
• One game after rushing for
99 yards in Jacksonville,
Mewelde Moore had 134 yards
from scrimmage (120 rushing
on 20 carries) and three touch-
downs (two rushing).
Cincinnati quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick filled in for the injured Carson Palmer against the Steelers, but
LaMarr Woodley and his teammates made sure things wouldn’t go smoothly for him. Digest Photo/MIKE FABUS • Zero sacks allowed.
STORYLINE: WHAT WENT WRONG
Often in this series these teams have come into a BY THE NUMBERS:
game on opposite ends of the division standings, and • It was an offensive posses-
so it was again last Sunday. Is it possible for an 0-6 The number of first downs the Bengals man-
team playing without its starting quarterback to upset
a 4-1 team whose fans made up almost half of the
0: aged on their first five offensive possessions,
before getting seven on their TD drive to end the first
sion that started for the Steelers
at the Bengals 30-yard line after
a 15-yard punt by Kyle Larson,
crowd? half and cut the Steelers’ lead from 10-0 to 10-7. but it didn’t end as well as it
TURNING POINT: began. During the eight-play
Yards of total offense for the Bengals on
The Steelers were dominating until three incom-
plete passes after a first-and-goal at the 3-yard line
28: those five possessions before their 92-
yard TD drive.
drive that netted only a field
goal, Ben Roethlisberger
had them settle for a field goal and a 10-0 lead. The missed an open Nate Washing-
game became competitive at that point. ton in the end zone, the officials
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s passer rating on that
IT WAS OVER WHEN … 135: touchdown drive, based on 9-of-10 for
84 yards and a touchdown. In the rest of the half, he
missed a pass interference
penalty on Leon Hall at the goal
Off a play-action fake, Ben Roethlisberger threw a line, and the Steelers missed a
perfect 50-yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington was 3-of-9 for 15 yards, which is a rating of 42.36.
chance to take a 14-0 lead de-
that gave the Steelers a 24-10 lead with 8:17 to play. spite having a first-and-goal at
the 3-yard line.
REPORT CARD By BOB LABRIOLA • Two pre-snap penalties —
a false start and a delay of
game — turned a third-and-3
QUARTERBACK: B into a third-and-13 and led to a
Roethlisberger made plays, but he left some on the field, too
RUNNING BACKS: A • A 36-yard kickoff return
Moore did it all — run, catch, block, score TDs
jump-started the Bengals on a
RECEIVERS: B+ field goal drive that cut the
Limas Sweed played, and caught his first NFL pass Steelers lead to 17-10 late in
the third quarter.
OFFENSIVE LINE: A-
Zero sacks, 4.6 per rush, but two false start penalties
DEFENSIVE LINE: B+
Doing their job allowed the LBs to wreak havoc THEY SAID IT …
LINEBACKERS: A+ “I signed here to do a job, and
7 sacks, 9 pressures, 1 takeaway. What, no TDs? that’s an ‘in-case-of’ (in case
Willie Parker was hurt). Right
DEFENSIVE BACKS: B+ now, we are in a ‘in-case-of’
Bengals completed passes, but the longest gain was 19 yards
type of situation.”
SPECIAL TEAMS: B — Mewelde Moore
Still looking for that first big kick return BEN ROETHLISBERGER
October 25, 2008 Steelers Digest 11
STEELERS DIGEST PLAYER OF THE WEEK
As Coach Mike Tomlin explained, the
linebackers compete against each other to
see who can be most destructive to the op-
ponent, and against the Bengals it was
James Harrison who got things started.
Harrison had five tackles, two more
sacks, three pressures and a pass batted
down. He is the Steelers Digest Player of
Also considered were Mewelde Moore,
who had 120 yards rushing and three total
touchdowns; Lawrence Timmons, who had
nine tackles and two sacks in the fourth
quarter; LaMarr Woodley, who had two
sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recov-
ery; and the offensive line, which allowed
no sacks and allowed the Steelers to aver-
age 4.6 yards per rush.
Digest Photo/MIKE FABUS
X Steelers Digest Month 2008 Month 2008 Steelers Digest X
Starks, Harrison and Big Ben
From the notebook of a sports- was whether Mike Tomlin
writer who can’t think of a stadium would blow Jeremy Par-
that has a more apt them song than quet’s redshirt. According
Cincinnati’s: to the play-by-play sheet,
• Welcome to the jungle, it gets Tomlin did.
worse here every day. • After James Harrison
nearly picked off Ryan
…just my opinion Fitzpatrick’s lateral,
by JIM WEXELL which ended up a 15-
yard loss, Harrison had a
• But really, the score wasn’t in- nice chat with the Har-
dicative of the tight game that was vard-educated Bengals
played between the Steelers and quarterback. I’ll assume
Bengals. For 31Ú2 quarters I was won- they weren’t discussing
dering whether the Steelers were abstract law theories.
ruthless enough to really be consid- • Torn between call-
ered contenders. ing Harrison “Silverback”
• The offense let the Bengals or “Deebo,” I’ve opted
back into the game by throwing for “Nueve Dos.” It fits
three incomplete passes from the 3- his star persona a little
yard line and kicking a field goal. A better.
truly ruthless team would have • Harrison was ruth-
bludgeoned the Bengals right there less. So were LaMarr
with the running game and gone up Woodley and Lawrence
14-0. Timmons. And Troy Pola-
• Not to include Hines Ward malu ruthless-ed himself
there. He was a ruthless man. Ask off the field.
Keith Rivers, who did a great imita- • Ryan Clark had the
tion of Bart Scott on the comeback hit of the game against
block by Ward. Chris Henry, bringing to
• Expect that hit to cost Ward mind Clark’s kill shot on
some money, as the pansification of the same player a couple
the NFL continues. of years ago.
• Guess we can also expect a Ben Roethlisberger took the short passes when he had to, but he also fired a • After watching the
feud to commence between Ward beautiful deep ball to Nate Washington in the fourth quarter. Digest Photo/MIKE FABUS Bengals’ backs plod their
and Rivers. It should at least spark a way to 69 rushing yards, I
rivalry that’s in need of some fresh where I was from, and I told him it’s difficult to assess any real progress couldn’t help but wonder what Rudi
spice. Irwin, Pa. He told me he was in in the protection department. Johnson was thinking.
• The winless Bengals still have town with his idiot friends, and I • Along those lines, Max Starks • In case you have to ask, Dick
plenty of fan support. Even though agreed. He asked me if anyone in — on Mewelde Moore’s 13-yard LeBeau didn’t think QB Fitzpatrick
pregame stories predicted a Steeler the locker room gives me the cold touchdown run — collapsed the en- could dink his team down the field
Nation takeover of Paul Brown Sta- shoulder, and I told him only Ike tire right side of the Bengals’ defen- without making a mistake. That’s
dium, it never really materialized. I Taylor. So the rest of the night, the sive line. The big guy hasn’t grown why the corners gave such large
never expected to see that much or- guy kept saying “Irwin, Idiots, soft from those big paydays. cushions.
ange here. And I wasn’t the only re- Ike.” I couldn’t figure it out, until • Ben Roethlisberger’s arm • On a second-down play near
porter who felt that way, even he said he reads this column and seemed to have grown a bit soft the goal line, the Steelers’ corners
though some reporters repeatedly was only helping with my next over the bye week. Santonio played back on the goal line and
asked the Steelers how it felt to have headline. Holmes had a step on his man but were content to give up the first
so much support. But really, it was • The passing game remained Ben underthrew him. down at the 3-yard line. But Fitz-
tame by comparison to other hostile quick, short and sharp for the most • Those worries lasted until the patrick ran an ugly bootleg and fell
takeovers over the years. part, which sustained the hope that fourth quarter when Roethlisberger down for a loss. It was the worst
• I ran into one of the Steelers the offense would build off its perfor- threw 60 yards in the air, on the play call I’ve seen in a long time.
fans the night before the game. mance in Jacksonville. But again, the button, to Nate Washington. • Yes, the other team has
We chit-chatted a bit; he asked me Bengals’ pass rush was so feeble that • My only worry after that play coaches, too.
INSIDE THE GAME TUNCH’S TAKE By TUNCH ILKIN • Steelers Radio Network
Great game by offensive line
CINCINNATI — There are so the A-gap blitzes and the twists on seemed the Steelers were close to really, really nice.
many facets of the Steelers’ 38-10 the inside between the defensive making a lot of good things happen, It was nice to see Mewelde get
win over the Bengals that were in- tackles and ends, were not a prob- but they always seemed to be one his 100 yards. I know the one thing
teresting, but being a former offen- lem against the Bengals. The Steel- mistake away, whether a missed the Steelers wanted to take advan-
sive lineman I have to go with the ers interior offensive linemen did a block here or an overthrow there. tage of was that on first downs they
offensive line first, because that was great job of squeezing on the A-gap They were close, but they couldn’t wanted to run play-action passes
the best pass protection we have blitzes, and they were picking them put Cincinnati away. and go deep. They finally hit it with
seen all season long. up consistently. In the third quarter they really Nate Washington, for a 50-yard
Ben Roethlisberger not only That started early on the first took control of the game, and they touchdown that gave them a 24-10
wasn’t sacked even once — and drive of the game, when the Bengals really started running the ball well. lead.
that was the first time that had hap- brought pressure and the offensive Darnell Stapleton is getting better Max Starks made his first start of
pened since last December when line picked it up and Roethlisberger and better. the season for Marvel Smith, and he
the Steelers hosted the Bengals at hurt the Bengals with pass plays On the touchdown run by was just outstanding. He just looked
Heinz Field — but he also had down the field. When you do that to Mewelde Moore, on the Steelers’ very natural out there.
plenty of time in the pocket to sur- a defense, you make it not so ag- first possession in the third quarter Antwan Odom is not a bad pass
vey the field. gressive, and then as the game con- where Mewelde bounced it outside, rusher, and he got pressure last
And not only did Roethlisberger tinued and the Bengals kept trying Stapleton did a great job adjusting week on the Jets vs. a pretty darn
have plenty of time, but the offen- to bring pressure, the Steelers did a on the counter-trap where he pulls. good offensive lineman in D’Brick-
sive line came off the ball, which al- great job of picking it up. Normally, you kick the outside guy ashaw Ferguson. Max did an out-
lowed the running game to get I thought the other thing that was out, but this time the outside guy, standing job, not only in pass block-
going. really exciting was in the second Antwan Odom, closed and so Sta- ing but also in coming off the ball.
You always are looking for im- half with the way the Steelers took pleton hooked him and took him to Whenever you rush for 125 yards
provement, and the things that this control of the game. the inside, which enabled Mewelde and don’t give up any sacks, that’s a
offensive line struggled with early, Throughout the second quarter, it to bounce the ball outside. It was win for the offensive linemen.
INSIDE THE GAME By JIM WEXELL • Digest Correspondent
Linebackers put on a show
CINCINNATI — The competition Timmons first came “I kept telling people that he’s fast
between the Steelers and Bengals clean on a third-and-8 and he’s good,” said Woodley. “If
ended about midway through the play early in the second you watched him practice, you saw
fourth quarter. The competition quarter. Like a lightning that every day. He really practices
among Steelers linebackers went bolt, he swooped off the hard. The only question was
right up to the final whistle. edge, but Farrior “stole” whether he’d transfer it to the field,
The Steelers piled up seven sacks the sack to force a Ben- and now that he has that under-
in the 38-10 win last Sunday, and all gals punt. standing of the game he’s even
of them came from their linebackers. Timmons’ first true faster.”
“James Harrison is the bus driver,” sack, and second of the Timmons remains a backup to
said Coach Mike Tomlin. “And if he season, occurred early in Larry Foote, but the Bengals used
gets a play, he’s going to let No. 56 the fourth quarter. With their three-receiver sets so often the
(LaMarr Woodley) hear about it, or the Steelers leading by Steelers used plenty of nickel de-
No. 94 (Lawrence Timmons) hear only seven, Timmons fense. It gave them three explosive
about it, or No. 51 (James Farrior). sacked Ryan Fitzpatrick pass rushers to go along with Farrior,
The biggest competition is in your on third-and-10 to force a the captain, inside.
backyard, and that’s how they ap- punt. The Steelers scored “I don’t know if we really blitzed
proach it. They’re not a selfish the game-clinching touch- any more than we usually do,” Far-
group. They work, but they drive down six plays later. rior said. “Guys were just getting
each other, and that’s awesome.” Timmons came up big home more often.”
Harrison and Woodley each had on the Bengals’ next third Of course, the defensive line
two sacks to extend their team-lead- Lawrence Timmons joined in the pass- down as well. His sack made it all happen by stuffing the
ing totals to 8.5 and 7.5, respec- rushing fun against Cincinnati with a pair on third-and-12 sent Ben- run and not allowing Fitzpatrick to
tively. But a new contender emerged of sacks. Digest Photo/MIKE FABUS gals fans to the parking scramble up the middle. But Aaron
— Timmons also had two sacks, and lot. After the game, Tim- Smith gave the verbal game ball to
he could have had three. The outside linebackers say teams mons was his typically humble self. the linebackers.
“I stole one from Timmons,” said must “pick your poison” in deciding “I had an all right game,” he said. “I think we’ve had more talented
Farrior with a paternalistic chuckle. which rusher on whom to focus. But “I think I did well.” linebackers before,” Smith said.
“We love the competition that’s be- the emergence of Timmons, who Timmons was anything but pro- “But collectively, this group by far
tween us linebackers. We try to thrive played inside, outside and even ductive last season, when some fans is overall the best I’ve played with.
off each other, support each other, lined up over wide receiver Chad and media wondered whether he Play in and play out, there’s never a
and when we have good days like Johnson at times, throws another ex- was a first-round bust. But his team- drop-off. Teams have to pick their
this we’re really proud of each other.” plosive blitzer into the mix. mates never thought that way. poison.”
October 25, 2008 Steelers Digest 15
with GEOFF JENKINS
s Major League Baseball was completing the task of determining Q. You grew up in California, so when you need the first down to
A the participants in the 2008 World Series, a couple of guys in-
volved in the National League Championship Series probably were
spending some of their free time checking out the doings of their
favorite NFL team.
Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Geoff Jenkins grew up in California, but
how did you become a Steelers fan?
My older brother Brett is 38, four
years older than me, and he was al-
ways a big Steelers fan, and I just kind
of followed his footsteps. I just kept
move the chains, and he’s the guy
when you need that big touchdown.
Q. Which current Steelers player
would you have batting cleanup in
he was drawn to the Steelers at a young age because he was captivated by with it. Last year when we were in
He would have to be athletic, so
Lynn Swann’s acrobatic catches. Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Cory town to play the Pirates, I got to meet it can’t just be a big, strong line-
Wade grew up in Indianapolis and now lives in Utah during the offseason, Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward, man. I would want Willie Parker
but he made it a point to attend a Steelers practice and was thrilled to meet and I have been to a few practices. leading off. I would put Santonio
some players during a late-season series in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. It’s something I definitely follow. Holmes in center field. Go with
Jenkins and Wade talked about their passion for the Steelers with Teresa
Q. What are some of your fa- Heath Miller at cleanup.
vorite Steelers memories? Q. Would Willie Parker’s speed
I went to USC and so I’ve always translate to him being a great base
been a Lynn Swann fan, and the stealer?
catches he made were awesome. I Football and baseball are two dif-
was a big fan of The Bus and loved ferent gears. Football is a combina-
watching him roll over people. tion of power and speed; in baseball
There are a lot of great memories, there are a lot of guys who are fast but
and it’s hard to pick just one. can’t steal bases. There are guys who
Q. Is there a current Steelers don’t have that top-end speed but
they know how to get a good jump so
Photo/DREW HALLOWELL/Getty Images
player you enjoy watching, a guy
whose game you respect? they are good base stealers. He would
Hines Ward. He epitomizes what have to learn to read a pitcher, but I
the Steelers are. He’s always out there think Willie would be good at it.
having fun and has that smile on his Q. What would be the best way
face. He’s a rough, tough guy but at to utilize Ben Roethlisberger’s arm
the same time he’s very professional. in baseball?
You can tell he’s smooth by the way I would put him in as a catcher
he runs his routes, and he’ll go into throwing people out. Either that or
traffic to make a catch. He is the guy as a closer.
& CORY WADE
Q. What are some of your favorite Yes. We have a trainer who is a big-
Steelers memories? time fan, too. You don’t run into too
The main one is Super Bowl XL many Steelers fans where we are. Having
against the Seahawks, the one for the Joe and our trainer Todd (Tomczyk) both
thumb. I was in Nevada watching the being Steelers fans is a lot of fun.
game and being out there, there were a
Q. What are your thoughts on what
lot of Seahawks fans. I was wearing all
Mike Tomlin has brought to this team?
my Steelers stuff, and everybody else
They haven’t missed a beat since Bill
were Seahawks fans. It was fun.
Cowher left. A lot of people were con-
Q. How closely are you able to follow cerned when Cowher left about what
the Steelers? was going to happen, who they were
This is my first year of big-league ball, so going to bring in to coach the team. The
in previous years it wasn’t hard to follow Rooneys brought in a great guy to re-
the games. Right now you watch what you place Cowher. Mike Tomlin has been
Photo/DOUG PENSINGER/Getty Images
can while the season is going on. I have awesome.
the SundayTicket package, so I can get all
Q. What current Steelers player would
of the games. If I get a chance to watch a
you like to have batting cleanup in your
full game, I’m going to do it and wave my
Terrible Towel and have a good time.
I would say Mike Tomlin. That man
Q. Your Dodgers teammate Joe Beimel is massive. He is a big man. And be-
is a Steelers fan as well. Is that fun having cause of the attitude he projects, I
someone else in the clubhouse be a Steel- would like to have him in my cleanup
ers fan? spot.
October 25, 2008 Steelers Digest 17
Stapleton making most of chance
By TERESA VARLEY
At some point during the game in Jacksonville “I want to win games.
against the Jaguars, maybe even when the Steel-
ers offense was on the field, Darnell Stapleton’s
If we win with me in
phone rang. It was his mother. He didn’t an- the lineup or someone
swer, naturally, and she didn’t leave a message.
“She called, I don’t know why,” said a smiling who is better than me,
Stapleton. “I guess she thought I was going to
pick up. That’s just the way my family is. But I I’ll accept the fact.
missed the call. I had quite a few missed text
messages. Everybody was proud of me.” But I will come
Chances are that is the exact message she was
going to convey to her son, how proud she was to work every day
of the way he performed in his first NFL start.
Stapleton is the starting right guard because and compete.”
Kendall Simmons tore an Achilles during the
game against the Baltimore Ravens and he
played well in the second half of that game and
then again in Jacksonville.
“My heart was beating a million miles an
hour,” said Stapleton of being thrown in against
the Ravens. “They always say to be ready be-
cause you never know who might go down. Un-
fortunately, Kendall went down with a season-
ending injury and I was called upon to step in. I
was nervous for the first play but after that it’s
football, it’s something I love to do and it was
time to go to work.”
It’s not the easiest thing to do, though, espe-
cially against the Ravens defense and on a Mon-
day night to boot.
“My teammates did a good job of keeping me
cool, calm and collected,” said Stapleton. “I felt
like they had confidence in me. That’s all you
really need. I felt like I was more than capable Darnell Stapleton made the Steelers roster as a rookie
of getting the job done. It was just keeping my free agent, then found himself in the starting lineup a year
composure and getting the job done.” later after Kendall Simmons was injured.
That confidence paid off, because after play- Digest Photos/MIKE FABUS and DANIELLE HUDAK
ing well against the Ravens, Stapleton held onto
the job during a head-to-head competition with
Trai Essex during the week before the Jaguars
“It was a dream come true,” said Stapleton “It’s still Kendall’s job,” said Stapleton. “I’m a rookie even though I got injured. I thought I
about starting in a nationally televised prime- backup doing my job, which is to fill the ranks showed I’m capable of playing at this level.”
time game. “You dream about being on televi- until he is healthy. Stapleton was inactive for the entire 2007 reg-
sion saying, ‘Darnell Stapleton, Rutgers Univer- “I’m just coming out here to compete. I’m a ular season, forced to watch each week from the
sity.’ It was big to get my first start, and to be on competitor. I want to win games. If we win with sidelines in street clothes. That wasn’t easy for
Sunday Night Football — prime-time television me in the lineup or someone who is better than him.
— it was even bigger. We came out with a vic- me, I’ll accept the fact. But I will come to work “Everybody on this team is a competitor,” he
tory, and that is always big.” every day and compete.” said. “That’s why they’re here. To sit back and
And because of his role in it, Stapleton got to Quite possibly the reason he has made it this watch is hard, especially if you love the game as
make his second career start, in Cincinnati. far in the first place is that competitive spirit. He much as we do.”
“When you think about the six quarters of came to the Steelers as an undrafted rookie after Wanting to play is one thing, but preparing as
football that he played (against the Ravens and being passed over in a draft in which his college though you are going to play, and then doing
Jaguars), we were effective on offense,” said teammate, guard Cameron Stephenson, was well if called upon is the way a backup gets
Coach Mike Tomlin. “We played a half of win- picked by the Steelers in the fifth round. himself onto the field. Seizing these moments is
ning football vs. the Ravens when he was in Stephenson was waived on the final roster cut the way to keep himself on the field.
there, and we played a game of winning football prior to the 2007 season, he was waived by the “Before every game, Ben (Roethlisberger) al-
in Jacksonville when he was in there. He has Eagles last summer and is currently out of foot- ways came up to me and said to be ready just in
more than held his own. He’s a pretty good ball. case,” said Stapleton. “That Baltimore game was
communicator, and the guys appear to have a Stapleton, who could have been considered a that ‘just in case’ moment. I always prepare as if
good level of comfort with him. He is doing a long shot even for the practice squad after being I am playing in the game. It just happened that
nice job. Of course he is going to continue to injured during much of his rookie preseason, week I was called upon.
grow and get better, but he is OK right now.” made the final roster. “If you prepare for the game like we do as a
Stapleton knows he can improve, but the ef- “It was big making it. It’s tough to make it as a unit, you should be ready all of the time. But
fort he showed when given an opportunity is free agent,” said Stapleton, who still talks to now, to actually get the reps and grow that co-
keeping him in the starting lineup for the fore- Stephenson a few times a week. “I think it shows hesion with Willie (Colon) and Justin (Hartwig)
seeable future, even though he doesn’t consider my hard work. I always expect the best things to is big. I think we can only grow further with the
the job to be his. happen. I came out and had a good camp as a reps I get the rest of the season.”
October 25, 2008 Steelers Digest 19
Just what is ‘unnecessary’?
Bob Labriola, a Pittsburgh native, football fans, that bloodlust specific incidents for which Ward
has been editor of Steelers Digest would become boredom was fined, those should have been
since its inception in 1988. This once too many of the cited when he was notified the first
page offers him an opportunity to league’s stars had been in- time. Having to ask for clarification,
provide additional insights into the capacitated. In other and then having it provided after the
Steelers, the NFL and the events that words, violence is good fact smacks of manufacturing evi-
are making news. but only if everybody gets dence.
up and walks back to the
huddle, and this is the fine LAUGHABLE HYPE
Opinion line the league office con-
Sure, the ESPN announcing team
stantly is trying to walk.
is going to do whatever is necessary
It was one of those roundtable It’s an honorable pursuit,
to hype its Monday Night Football
discussions that probably first aired but things are going too far
game each week, but maintaining a
in the late 1990s, and the panel in the wrong direction.
level of credibility should be impor-
brought together to talk about the During two games in
state of professional football in- late September and early
Before the Browns hosted the
cluded a couple of different genera- October, Hines Ward was
tions of former players. Inevitably, fined for what was deter- New York Giants on Oct. 13, in an
the conversation veered toward rule mined to be unnecessary effort to pump up Eli Manning, the
changes that benefited the offense. rough play. It cost him announcers made some ridiculous
“Fans pay money to see offense, $5,000 against the Ravens assertions, one of which was how
to see a lot of points being scored,” — the same game in which Peyton now was relegated to the
said wide receiver Tim Brown, still Ray Lewis broke Rashard role of “the other Manning,” with
an active player at the time. Mendenhall’s shoulder another being that Eli Manning
“Fans would pay money to see with a tackle — and clearly was the best of the quarter-
me put you in the hospital, too,” $10,000 against the backs drafted in 2004.
Hines Ward wasn’t terribly excited about
snarled Hall of Fame defensive end Jaguars. No penalties were getting fined for two separate incidents By what criteria is Eli Manning
Deacon Jones. called on Ward in either for which he didn’t get a penalty. clearly better than Ben Roethlis-
Such is the brilliant dichotomy of game, and Ward actually Digest Photo/MIKE FABUS berger and Philip Rivers?
football, a sport often balletic and left with the respect of the Rivers can be eliminated because
brutal from one play to the next, Jaguars coaching staff for the way “Don’t get me wrong, I under- he’s the one without a Super Bowl
and it always has been this mixture he played against their team. stand what the league is trying to do ring, but in Manning vs. Roethlis-
that has made it so popular, that has Unnecessary rough play? What is from a safety standpoint, and I am berger, the Steelers quarterback has
made it a part of contemporary this, the National Football League for that. We’ve got to be competi- an edge in regular season winning
American culture. regular season, or recess at the tive, we’ve got to be professional, percentage, career regular season
The league always has had rules neighborhood pre-school? Sorry, we’ve got to put a good product out passer rating, career playoff passer
governing the violence, and even as Hines, you’re going to have to get there for our fans. But, boy, it is rating and career playoff wins.
those rules have become more de- out of the sand box. You’re playing starting to cost a little too much The truth is that when talking
tailed and grown in number, injuries too rough. What in the name of money to come to work for some of heads make those statements,
to players have more of an impact Dick Butkus is going on here? these guys. We have to get a little they’re much more interested in the
than ever on the outcome of individ- “That’s how this guy has played clarity in regards to that, and I just hype than facts. When the Steelers
ual games and entire seasons. football in this league for a long think that is something we are work- travel to Washington, D.C., to play
While Deacon Jones is correct in time now,” Coach Mike Tomlin said ing on as a league.” the Redskins on a Monday night,
his assumption regarding the blood- about Ward, who is regarded uni- By the end of last week, the the same guys will be drooling all
lust of a large segment of the ticket- versally as the toughest, most physi- league had “clarified” its reasons for over Roethlisberger, the way they
buying and television-watching cal receiver in football. issuing the fines, but if there were were drooling all over Eli.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS NEW YORK GIANTS
No. Name Pos. Hgt. Wgt. Exp. College No. Name Pos. Hgt. Wgt. Exp. College
2 Dennis Dixon QB 6-3 206 R Oregon 5 John Carney K 5-11 185 20 Notre Dame
3 Jeff Reed PK 5-11 225 7 North Carolina 8 David Carr QB 6-3 216 7 Fresno State
4 Byron Leftwich QB 6-5 250 6 Marshall 9 Lawrence Tynes K 6-1 202 5 Troy State
7 Ben Roethlisberger QB 6-5 241 5 Miami (Ohio) 10 Eli Manning QB 6-4 225 5 Mississippi
10 Santonio Holmes WR 5-11 189 3 Ohio State 12 Steve Smith WR 5-11 195 2 USC
14 Limas Sweed WR 6-4 212 R Texas 17 Plaxico Burress WR 6-5 232 9 Michigan State
17 Mitch Berger P 6-4 228 13 Colorado 18 Jeff Feagles P 6-1 215 21 Miami (Fla.)
20 Bryant McFadden RCB 6-0 190 4 Florida State 20 Michael Johnson S 6-2 207 2 Arizona
21 Mewelde Moore RB 5-11 209 5 Tulane 21 Kenny Phillips S 6-2 210 R Miami (Fla.)
22 William Gay LCB 5-10 190 2 Louisville 22 Reuben Droughns RB 5-11 220 9 Oregon
23 Tyrone Carter SS 5-9 195 9 Minnesota 23 Corey Webster CB 6-0 202 4 LSU
24 Ike Taylor LCB 6-2 191 6 La.-Lafayette 24 Terrell Thomas CB 6-0 199 R USC
25 Ryan Clark FS 5-11 205 7 Louisiana State 25 R.W. McQuarters CB 5-10 194 11 Oklahoma State
26 Deshea Townsend RCB 5-10 190 11 Alabama 26 Sammy Knight S 6-1 215 12 USC
27 Anthony Smith FS 5-11 192 3 Syracuse 27 Brandon Jacobs RB 6-4 264 4 Southern Illinois
33 Gary Russell RB 5-11 215 2 Minnesota 28 Danny Ware RB 6-0 234 2 Georgia
37 Anthony Madison LCB 5-9 180 3 Alabama 29 Sam Madison CB 5-11 180 12 Louisville
38 Carey Davis FB 5-10 225 2 Illinois 31 Aaron Ross CB 6-0 197 2 Texas
39 Willie Parker RB 5-10 209 5 North Carolina 34 Derrick Ward RB 5-11 228 5 Ottawa
43 Troy Polamalu SS 5-10 207 6 Southern California 35 Kevin Dockery CB 5-8 188 3 Mississippi State
44 Najeh Davenport RB 6-1 247 7 Miami (Fla.) 37 James Butler S 6-3 215 4 Georgia Tech
49 Sean McHugh TE 6-5 265 3 Penn State 39 Madison Hedgecock FB 6-3 266 4 North Carolina
50 Larry Foote RILB 6-1 239 7 Michigan 44 Ahmad Bradshaw RB 5-9 198 2 Marshall
51 James Farrior LILB 6-2 243 12 Virginia 51 DeOssie, Zak LB 6-4 249 2 Brown
53 Bruce Davis LOLB 6-2 252 R UCLA 53 Bryan Kehl LB 6-2 237 R BYU
54 Andre Frazier ROLB 6-5 255 4 Cincinnati 54 Jonathan Goff LB 6-2 236 R Vanderbilt
56 LaMarr Woodley LOLB 6-2 265 2 Michigan 55 Danny Clark LB 6-2 245 9 Illinois
57 Keyaron Fox LILB 6-3 235 5 Georgia Tech 57 Chase Blackburn LB 6-3 247 4 Akron
60 Greg Warren LS 6-3 252 4 North Carolina 58 Antonio Pierce LB 6-1 238 8 Arizona
62 Justin Hartwig C 6-4 312 7 Kansas 59 Gerris Wilkinson LB 6-3 231 3 Georgia Tech
65 Jeremy Parquet G 6-6 321 4 Southern Mississippi 60 Shaun O’Hara C 6-3 303 9 Rutgers
66 Tony Hills LT 6-6 305 R Texas 61 Adam Koets T 6-5 300 2 Oregon State
68 Chris Kemoeatu LG 6-3 344 4 Utah 65 Grey Ruegamer G 6-4 299 10 Arizona State
72 Darnell Stapleton RG 6-3 285 2 Rutgers 66 David Diehl T 6-5 319 6 Illinois
74 Willie Colon RT 6-3 315 3 Hofstra 67 Kareem McKenzie T 6-6 327 8 Penn State
76 Chris Hoke NT 6-2 305 8 Brigham Young 69 Rich Seubert G 6-3 310 8 Western Illinois
77 Marvel Smith LT 6-5 321 9 Arizona State 71 Dave Tollefson DE 6-4 255 2 NW Missouri State
78 Max Starks RT 6-8 337 5 Florida 76 Chris Snee G 6-3 317 5 Boston College
79 Trai Essex LT 6-4 324 4 Northwestern 77 Kevin Boothe G 6-5 315 3 Cornell
81 Dallas Baker WR 6-3 206 1 Florida 81 Amani Toomer WR 6-3 203 13 Michigan
83 Heath Miller TE 6-5 256 4 Virginia 82 Mario Manningham WR 5-11 183 R Michigan
85 Nate Washington WR 6-1 185 4 Tiffin 83 Sinorice Moss WR 5-8 185 3 Miami (Fla.)
86 Hines Ward WR 6-0 205 11 Georgia 84 Darcy Johnson TE 6-5 267 2 Central Florida
89 Matt Spaeth TE 6-7 270 2 Minnesota 87 Domenik Hixon WR 6-2 182 3 Akron
90 Travis Kirschke LDE 6-3 298 12 UCLA 88 Michael Matthews TE 6-4 270 2 Georgia Tech
91 Aaron Smith LDE 6-5 298 10 Northern Colorado 89 Kevin Boss TE 6-6 253 2 Western Oregon
92 James Harrison ROLB 6-0 242 5 Kent State 91 Justin Tuck DE 6-5 274 4 Notre Dame
93 Nick Eason RDE 6-3 305 6 Clemson 93 Jay Alford DT 6-3 304 2 Penn State
94 Lawrence Timmons RILB 6-1 234 2 Florida State 95 Jerome McDougle DE 6-2 264 6 Miami (Fla.)
95 Donovan Woods ROLB 6-2 230 R Oklahoma State 96 Barry Cofield DT 6-4 306 3 Northwestern
96 Orpheus Roye LDE 6-4 330 13 Florida State 97 Mathias Kiwanuka DE 6-5 265 3 Boston College
98 Casey Hampton NT 6-1 325 8 Texas 98 Fred Robbins DT 6-4 317 9 Wake Forest
99 Brett Keisel RDE 6-5 285 7 Brigham Young 99 Renaldo Wynn DE 6-3 296 12 Notre Dame
STEELERS DEPTH CHART GIANTS DEPTH CHART STEELERS COACHING STAFF
OFFENSE OFFENSE Mike Tomlin ........................................................Head coach
John Mitchell ......................Ass’t head coach/Defensive line
QB 7-Ben Roethlisberger 4-Byron Leftwich QB 10-Eli Manning 8-David Carr
Bruce Arians ........................................Offensive coordinator
HB 39-Willie Parker 21-Mewelde Moore HB 27-Brandon Jacobs 34-Derrick Ward Dick LeBeau........................................Defensive coordinator
FB 38-Carey Davis FB 39-Madison Hedgecock Ken Anderson ..................................................Quarterbacks
WR 10-Santonio Holmes 14-Limas Sweed WR 17-Plaxico Burress 87-Domenik Hixon Keith Butler..........................................................Linebackers
WR 86-Hines Ward 85-Nate Washington WR 81-Amani Toomer 12-Steve Smith James Daniel ........................................................Tight ends
Randy Fichtner................................................Wide receivers
TE 83-Heath Miller 89-Matt Spaeth TE 89-Kevin Boss 88-Michael Matthews
Harold Goodwin ......................................Offensive assistant
LT 77-Marvel Smith 78-Max Starks LT 66-David Diehl 77-Kevin Boothe
Ray Horton ..................................................Defensive backs
LG 68-Chris Kemoeatu 72-Darnell Stapleton LG 69-Rich Seubert 65-Grey Ruegamer Amos Jones......................................Assistant special teams
C 62-Justin Hartwig 72-Darnell Stapleton C 60-Shaun O’Hara 65-Grey Ruegamer Bob Ligashesky ..............................................Special teams
RG 72-Darnell Stapleton 79-Trai Essex RG 76-Chris Snee 77-Kevin Boothe Lou Spanos ............................................Defensive assistant
RT 74-Willie Colon 78-Max Starks RT 67-Kareem McKenzie 61-Adam Koets Kirby Wilson....................................................Running backs
Larry Zierlein ....................................................Offensive line
DEFENSE DEFENSE Ray Jackson ..........................................Player development
DE 91-Aaron Smith 90-Travis Kirschke LE 91-Justin Tuck 99-Renaldo Wynn
Garrett Giemont ..........................Strength and conditioning
Marcel Pastoor ..................................Conditioning assistant
NT 98-Casey Hampton 76-Chris Hoke NT 96-Barry Cofield
DE 99-Brett Keisel 93-Nick Eason DT 98-Fred Robbins 93-Jay Alford
OLB 56-LaMarr Woodley 53-Bruce Davis RE 97-Mathias Kiwanuka 71-Dave Tollefson
GIANTS COACHING STAFF
ILB 51-James Farrior 57-Keyaron Fox SLB 55-Danny Clark 51-Zak DeOssie Tom Coughlin......................................................Head coach
ILB 50-Larry Foote 94-Lawrence Timmons MLB 58-Antonio Pierce 57-Chase Blackburn Kevin Gilbride ......................................Offensive coordinator
Steve Spagnuolo ................................Defensive coordinator
OLB 92-James Harrison 54-Andre Frazier WLB 59-Gerris Wilkinson 53-Bryan Kehl
Tom Quinn ..................................Special teams coordinator
CB 24-Ike Taylor 22-William Gay LCB 31-Aaron Ross 35-Kevin Dockery
Andre Curtis....................................Defensive quality control
FS 25-Ryan Clark 27-Anthony Smith RCB 23-Corey Webster 29-Sam Madison Dave DeGuglielmo ..................................Ass’t offensive line
SS 43-Troy Polamalu 23-Tyrone Carter SS 37-James Butler 26-Sammy Knight Pat Flaherty ......................................................Offensive line
CB 20-Bryant McFadden 26-Deshea Townsend FS 20-Michael Johnson 21-Kenny Phillips Peter Giunta ............................................Secondary/corners
Jerald Ingram..................................................Running backs
SPECIALISTS SPECIALISTS Thomas McGaughey ..............................Ass’t special teams
P 17-Mitch Berger P 18-Jeff Feagles David Merritt ............................................Secondary/safeties
K 3-Jeff Reed K 5-John Carney 9-Lawrence Tynes Mike Pope..............................................................Tight ends
LS 60-Greg Warren LS 93-Jay Alford 51-Zak DeOssie Bill Sheridan ........................................................Linebackers
H 17-Mitch Berger H 18-Jeff Feagles Mike Sullivan ..................................................Wide receivers
KR 21-Mewelde Moore KR 87-Domenik Hixon 28-Danny Ware Chris Palmer ....................................................Quarterbacks
PR 21-Mewelde Moore 10-Santonio Holmes PR 25-R.W. McQuarters 87-Domenik Hixon
Sean Ryan ......................................Offensive quality control
Mike Waufle......................................................Defensive line
22 Steelers Digest October 25, 2008
COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New York Giants
Heinz Field • 4:15 p.m. • FOX
ABOUT THE GIANTS PLAYERS TO STOP
Some teams use a Super Bowl title as a
springboard to a lengthy run of success, while
others suffer a hangover and miss the playoffs
the following season. After each of their previ-
ous Super Bowl championships — in 1986 and
1990 — the Giants came back the next season
and missed the playoffs. Can Tom Coughlin do
that better than Bill Parcells?
THE GIANTS OFFENSE
Because his surname is Manning, an inordi-
nate amount of attention is paid to Eli, the quar-
terback, but the Giants offense is built on the
foundation of a bruising running attack. After
five games, Brandon Jacobs (6-4, 264) and
Derrick Ward (5-11, 228) both were ranked in
the top 15 in the NFC in rushing.
THE GIANTS DEFENSE
What allowed the Giants to beat the Patriots
was their ability to put pressure on the passer
by rushing only four players, and the team’s de-
fensive line remains a strength despite Michael
Strahan retiring and Osi Umenyiora being on in-
jured reserve. In addition to Justin Tuck, DT
Fred Robbins has been a force.
DE JUSTIN TUCK WR PLAXICO BURRESS
THE GIANTS SPECIAL TEAMS Two sacks in Super Bowl XLII thrust him into Former Steelers players usually don’t get a
As a fill-in for the injured Lawrence Tynes, John the spotlight, and Tuck had three sacks in the warm welcome when returning to Heinz
Carney hadn’t missed a field goal (12-for-12) or first five games of 2008. He finished second Field, but Burress caught the touchdown
an extra point (15-for-15) through five games. on the team in 2007 with 10 sacks. pass that beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
SERIES RECORD: Giants lead 45-29-3
CURRENT STREAK: Steelers and Giants have split
the last six games
LAST MEETING: Dec. 18, 2004
Steelers 33, Giants 30
LAST STEELERS VICTORY: Dec. 18, 2004
Steelers 33, Giants 30
LAST GIANTS VICTORY: Dec. 10, 2000
Giants 30, Steelers 10
STEELERS’ BIGGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY: 56 (63-7 in 1952)
STEELERS’ BIGGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT: 35 (42-7 in 1935; 35-0 in 1957)
MEMORABLE GAME(S): In 1963, the Steelers went into the regular season
finale at 7-3-3 and needing to beat the Giants at
Yankee Stadium to win the Eastern Conference title,
STAT WORTH NOTING: and they already had won in Pittsburgh, 31-0. But with
These teams played a home-and-home series 33 times; QB Ed Brown completing only 13 of 33 passes with
the Steelers have six season sweeps, while the Giants three interceptions, the Steelers lost, 33-13.
October 25, 2008 Steelers Digest 23
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By TERESA VARLEY
o Aaron Smith, the time spent talking with
T Baron Berg about football and life was a
chance to get to know another person and
thank him for his service in the military. To
Berg, it was a morale boost that will fuel him through
a difficult time in his life.
“It definitely boosted my morale,” said Berg, who is
from Clearfield, Pa. “It makes me realize that these
guys care about me and the other veterans, and they
appreciate our service to our country.
“Aaron offered me a lot of good advice. He told me
Photos by DANIELLE HUDAK
to believe in myself, keep the tempo, work hard and
challenge myself. And he said thanks.”
Berg was among those who attended Heroes at
Heinz Field, an event hosted by the Steelers and VA
Healthcare to honor wounded veterans from Opera-
tion Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The event included on-field drills, autographs, dinner
and a welcome by Steelers president Art Rooney II.
“Some of these men and women have very traumatic
injuries,” said Michael Moreland, director of the VA
Pittsburgh Healthcare System. “To let them have the
ability to get out and do something like this picks their
spirits up, lets them feel good about things and their
families, too. They need a break every once in a while.”
The veterans didn’t let their injuries get in the way of
getting on the field and taking part in the football drills.
“They are full of life,” said Smith. “They’re smiling
and talking. To see that throws me back the most. De-
spite what they have been through, they still have an
There were those without limbs throwing passes,
some with prosthetic legs kicking field goals, and U.S.
Army Sgt. Jeremy Feldbusch took part even though he
lost his sight.
Jessica Lynch, the Army PFC who was held hostage
when the conflict in Iraq began, tossed the football
around and enjoyed an experience that included auto-
graphs for herself and a few others back home as well.
“It’s an honor to have been invited here and be a
part of it,” said Lynch. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s nice to do
events like this where we are appreciated.”
Smith was one of 10 players who attended the
event, along with Patrick Bailey, Chris Hoke, Roy
Lewis, Mewelde Moore, Jeff Reed, Daniel Sepulveda,
Dezmond Sherrod, Matt Spaeth and Greg Warren.
“As an American citizen, father and husband, this is
the most honorable thing I can do,” said Smith. “They The Steelers showed their
fight for my freedom, so I can come out here and play gratitude to veterans of
football. To give something back to them with the sac-
rifice they made is the ultimate thing for me.”
Operation Enduring Freedom
Moore, who has family and friends who have served and Operation Iraqi Freedom by
in the military, considered it an honor to take part in the hosting an event at Heinz Field
event and was amazed at the attitude the veterans had.
“It’s unbelievable to see their strength,” said Moore. that included on-field drills,
“It’s one of those things you get stronger from. You see autographs, dinner and a
how strong they are, their will power. It’s inspira- welcome by Steelers president
tional. You want to continue to do better in everything
you do because you see such great things coming Art Rooney II.
October 25, 2008 Steelers Digest 25
M A I L A L L L E T T E R S T O : O V E R V I E W , 3 4 0 0 S O U T H W A T E R S T. , P I T T S B U R G H , P A 1 5 2 0 3
Dear Overview, Stapleton, though. I hope that continues
I’m really impressed with Ben Roeth-
2008 FAN PHOTOS to be the case.
We all know that injuries are going to
lisberger this season. He has gotten the happen, and it’s a comforting feeling to
heck beat out of him but he hasn’t fal- know the Steelers have such great
tered one bit and had one of the best depth, so many capable backups. I hope
games of his career in Jacksonville. no one else gets hurt the rest of the sea-
I have gotten frustrated with him in son, but if they do at least I won’t have
the past for not getting rid of the ball to hold my breath hoping that all goes
quickly and things like that, but the guy well.
definitely makes up for it. The best part I know they will get the job done.
of it is that he is such a young quarter-
back, which means there is so much George Lowery
more to come. I can’t wait to see how Sarasota, Florida
he keeps on developing.
Barry Joseph Dear Overview,
What is up with Limas Sweed being
*** inactive so much this season? Is this a
Dear Overview, case of a rookie not being familiar with
the offense and therefore not ready to
Steelers fans have been hard on Ben play, or is Dallas Baker just doing a
Roethlisberger, but they should be William Thomas and sons Craig and Daryl from California had a great time at the Steel- much better job than Sweed?
ers-Ravens game at Heinz Field.
singing his praises after his amazing per- I am a little disappointed that he isn’t
formance against the Jaguars. I have out there more. The Steelers have a cou-
Overview plans on featuring Steelers fans decked out in their black and gold in the
never seen Ben play so well. It’s great to Overview section this season. We invite you to send us your photos or e-mail a jpeg ple of great starters in Hines Ward and
actually have a franchise quarterback, a to us for consideration. Santonio Holmes, but it would be nice
guy you know you can depend on week No photos will be returned, and not all submissions will be selected to appear.
to add Sweed to the mix as a weapon.
in and week out. E-mail your photos to: Steelers_Digest@yahoo.com (put “Steelers Digest” in the e-
Ben is the first true franchise quarter- mail subject line), or mail them to: Steelers Digest, 3400 S. Water St., Pittsburgh, PA Lance Grogan
back we have had since Terry Brad- Vienna, Virginia
I know people will still get on Roethlisberger trying to protect the quarterback, but I think this Editor’s note: Nate Washington has
for every little thing, like he holds the ball too time the referee went too far. been doing a nice job as the team’s No. 3 re-
long or whatever, but I will take that any day with That was not a penalty and thankfully it didn’t ceiver, and the team has confidence in him
the way he is playing. He is the best quarterback cost the Steelers a game. The officiating this year there, and Limas Sweed doesn’t really have a
in the AFC, and the Steelers are lucky to have around the league has been disappointing, and role on special teams, which then impacts him
him. this was just another example of that. when the game day roster is put together. With
Jay Vogel Dallas Baker rehabilitating a shoulder injury,
Linda Jenkins Sweed will get an opportunity, and then it will
Wheeling, West Virginia Erie, Pennsylvania
be up to him. But even if Sweed finishes this
*** *** season without contributing much, it still
Dear Overview, Dear Overview, would be too early to label him a bust.
I was absolutely sick when Rashard Menden- A big pat on the back goes out to the guys who ***
hall went down with a season-ending injury. It re- have gotten the job done while starters have been Dear Overview,
ally was a punch in the stomach to lose him, but injured.
Chris Hoke has been absolutely amazing. As I like Nate Washington as a player, and I was
then I watched the Jaguars game and saw
much as I hate to say this, I didn’t even miss somebody who was always screaming at the TV
Casey Hampton while watching the Steelers de- for Ben Roethlisberger to throw him the ball
That guy is a heck of a back, and while I hate
fense. I know Hampton is an important part of the more. But that taunting penalty against the
to see Mendenhall on the injured reserve list, it’s
team, but Hoke is talented and makes plays when Jaguars was inexcusable. As a Steelers fan, it
a relief to have Moore on the roster. Gary Russell
given the opportunity to play. Also on the defen- makes me angry to see players do selfish things
also is a good back.
sive line, Travis Kirschke and Orpheus Roye have that hurt the team.
With a healthy Willie Parker, plus Moore and
Russell, the Steelers are in good shape in the run- been phenomenal. William Washington
ning game. At running back, Mewelde Moore blew me Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
away with his performance against the Jaguars.
Andrew McCarthy Talk about doing what you were asked to do and
Louisville, Kentucky doing it well. That was one of the best perfor- E-MAIL LETTERS
mances I have seen by a guy stepping in for an Letters may be submitted to Overview
*** quickly via e-mail. Just e-mail your letter to
Dear Overview, firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include
It appears guys have done a good job on the
I don’t get why James Harrison was penalized offensive line, too, but I haven’t had a chance to your name, city and state.
for his hit on David Garrard. I know the league is see that as close. I was impressed with Darnell
26 Steelers Digest October 25, 2008