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Old 10-28-2007, 07:33 AM   #1
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Default Steelers' Holmes hopes big plays come against Bengals

Steelers' Holmes hopes big plays come against Bengals
By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, October 28, 2007


Two years ago, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson compared the Steelers to a black-and-white television set.
You know, out of style.

But that was before the Steelers developed a penchant for knocking the Bengals out of the picture.

About a month after Johnson's comment, the Steelers beat the Bengals in a wild-card playoff game.

Last season, the Steelers finished the Bill Cowher era in grand fashion when they kept the Bengals out of the playoffs with a 23-17 overtime victory at Paul Brown Stadium.
Steelers receiver Santonio Holmes remembers it well. He caught a 34-yard pass to set up the game-tying field goal, then turned a simple slant pattern into the game-winning, 67-yard touchdown.

Afterward he said of the Bengals, "They really didn't want it as bad as we did."

This week, Holmes reflected on the victory.

"It meant a lot, because we ended up sending Cincinnati home just like us," he said. "It also helped me get my first 100-yard game. There were a lot of positives in that."

Bengals safety Madieu Williams also remembers it well. He blitzed on the final play. The Steelers anticipated as much. Holmes ran to the area Williams vacated.

"He did that to us, so we've definitely got to be aware of where he's at," Williams said this week. "He's a very explosive receiver. He's done a nice job of making plays and turning a small gain into a larger gain by running after the catch."

Actually, Holmes and the rest of the Steelers haven't had a play this season nearly as long as that 67-yard catch. Their longest pass play from scrimmage was a 43-yarder from Ben Roethlisberger to Holmes against Arizona. Their longest play overall was a 45-run run by Najeh Davenport against Seattle.

Last season, the Steelers had 12 plays longer than 45 yards.

"Anytime we can get a play (like that), it's big for our offense and for us as receivers," Holmes said. "So, we're going to look forward to making big plays like that this week."

It won't be a surprise if Holmes does something spectacular Sunday. Every game in Ohio turns into Old Holmes Days for the former Ohio State star.

In three career games in Ohio, Holmes has 11 catches for 254 yards and three touchdowns. That includes his first career touchdown catch (last year at Cleveland), his first 100-yard game (last year against the Bengals) and a touchdown catch in this year's opener at Cleveland.

Roethlisberger, from Findlay, Ohio, is 8-0 in the state as an NFL player.

Happy to be headed back, fellas?

"I've been asked this question every time I go back," said Holmes, second on the team with 20 catches for 339 yards and four touchdowns. "I get a lot of supportive fans. They're down at the bottom (of the stands) when I'm warming up. Whatever it may be, they make it known they're here to support me."

The Steelers have won six in a row at Cincinnati, including the playoff win. Holmes laughed when a reporter reminded him that Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer last year said, "I hate the Steelers."

"If he hates the Steelers, you know, we hate the Bengals," Holmes said. "It's as simple as that."
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