View Full Version : Harrison racking up the sacks

12-01-2008, 05:15 AM
Harrison racking up the sacks
By Mike Prisuta
Monday, December 1, 2008

•Steelers linebacker James Harrison's two sacks in Sunday's 33-10 victory over the New England Patriots upped his season total to 14, one behind NFL leader DeMarcus Ware of Dallas (15) and one-half behind current runner-up Joey Porter of Miami (14.5). Harrison's 14 sacks are one shy of the franchise-record 15 set by linebacker Mike Merriweather in 1984.

"That's not really something I think about," Harrison said. "I could care less if I make another sack this year if we win out the rest of the games and win the Super Bowl."It's all about team for me."

On that score, inside linebacker James Farrior good-naturedly begged to differ.

"He wants to get all the sacks," Farrior said of Harrison. "He loves sacking quarterbacks. He doesn't care if we win or lose. If he gets five sacks and we lose, he feels like he had a good day.

"It is what it is. That man's a beast."

· Steelers free safety Ryan Clark was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness for a hit on Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker that resulted in Welker being knocked out of the game. Clark drilled Welker late in the third quarter after a tipped pass had sailed over Welker’s head.

“They said ‘don’t leave your feet,’” Clark said. “If anybody watched the other games we played, I don’t turn any of them down. It’s not like I’m trying to be cheap, but anybody that comes across there, it’s my job to hit them. The ball got tipped.”

Clark said he apologized to Patriots running back Kevin Faulk, a former teammate at LSU.

Clark said he couldn’t find Welker after the game so he sought out Faulk.

“I pray that he’s OK,” Clark said. “That’s part of the game.”

Clark said he expects to receive a letter from the NFL informing him he’ll be fined for his hit on Welker.

“I think they give letters for all the penalties,” Clark said. “(NFL Commissioner) Roger Goodell doesn’t write you to say ‘hey.” If they write you, they’re going to take some of my money.”

• The Steelers' domination of New England's offense included two interceptions, upping their season total to 13, two more than they managed in 2007. Strong safety Troy Polamalu had one of the interceptions, his career-high sixth (he had five in 2005). Polamalu entered tied for first in the NFL with Tennessee cornerback Cortland Finnegan with five interceptions. Linebacker Lawrence Timmons also had an interception, the first of his career. Timmons returned his pick 89 yards, the longest such jaunt for the Steelers this season, but was ruled down at the New England 1-yard line.

• The victory was the Steelers' second in seven games against a Bill Belichick-coached Patriots team, and their first in three tries at Gillette Stadium.

"It ranks pretty good," wide receiver Hines Ward said. "They've been whupping our tails for the last four or five years."

• The game was played in a persistent rain that began well before the ball was kicked off in 34-degree weather.

"We kind of embrace the bad weather," coach Mike Tomlin said. "We got a quarterback from Findlay, Ohio. That's how we play football." That quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, called the conditions "unbelievable." "One of the worst (weather games) I've played in," Roethlisberger said. "The rain didn't stop, and it was hard to see, and you have to give a lot of credit to our guys. They fought through it."

• The Steelers emerged not having sustained any serious injuries.

"None to speak of," Tomlin said.

• The Steelers went without cornerback Bryant McFadden (hand), cornerback Fernando Bryant, running back Najeh Davenport, linebacker Bruce Davis, offensive tackle Tony Hills, offensive tackle Marvel Smith (back), and defensive end Brett Keisel (knee). Dennis Dixon was designated as the No. 3 QB. Cornerback Deshea Townsend (foot) dressed for the first time since starting on Nov. 9 against Indianapolis, but William Gay made his third straight start at right cornerback. Offensive tackle Max Starks started his seventh consecutive game in place of Smith. Defensive end Travis Kirschke started his fourth game in place of Keisel, and first since Oct. 5 at Jacksonville.

• The Patriots didn't dress receiver Kelley Washington (thigh), running back LaMont Jordan (calf), offensive tackle Wesley Britt, guard Billy Yates, tight end Tyson DeVree, defensive lineman Ty Warren and linebacker Adalius Thomas (forearm). Matt Gutierrez was designated as the No. 3 QB.

• The 2-yard TD run by Patriots running back Sammy Morris that opened the scoring marked the third consecutive game that a Steelers' opponent scored first. The Steelers fell behind the Chargers, 7-0, on Nov. 16 at Heinz Field and trailed the Bengals, 7-0, on Nov. 20 in Cincinnati. The Steelers have scored first in seven of 12 games.

• Santonio Holmes' 29-yard punt return in the first quarter was the Steelers' longest punt return of the season. The previous best had been a 23-yard effort by Holmes.

• Holmes' 19-yard TD catch in the second quarter was his first receiving touchdown in four games and his third of the season.

• Patriots running back Kevin Faulk's 41-yard burst late in the second quarter was the longest run against the Steelers this season. The previous best had been a 22-yard carry.

• Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel's interception in the first quarter was his 11th career interception and first since Dec. 3, 2006.