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|12-08-2006, 04:24 AM||#1|
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Steelers' receivers catch on fast
Friday, December 08, 2006
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
With Hines Ward and Cedrick Wilson out with injuries, the Steelers' depleted wide receiving corps did not wave a white Terrible Towel.
They were down to two starters who did not have a catch in a regular-season NFL game entering this season -- rookie Santonio Holmes and second-year pro Nate Washington. Their special-teams captain, Sean Morey, who had two catches in a career that began in 1999, was No. 3. Their fourth receiver, Walter Young, was signed off their practice squad Nov. 25 and had never caught an NFL pass.
All four figured in the victory last night.
Washington got things going by catching a 49-yard pass for a touchdown in the first quarter that gave the Steelers a 7-0 lead. Holmes had two catches in the first half for 33 yards and caught a big one in the third quarter on third-and-7 . He stretched for a ball thrown high while running a post pattern and caught it for 23 yards to the Cleveland 32. The Steelers scored on that drive to, for all intents, put the game away.
Young caught a 17-yard pass on third-and-9 in the second quarter, his first in the NFL, to keep a field-goal drive going. And Morey caught his third NFL pass, for 15 yards -- giving him a career-high two receptions this season.
Milestones for Parker
Willie Parker became the first back in the Steelers' history not only to rush for more than 200 yards twice in one season but also to do it twice in his career.
Parker's 26-yard run in the second quarter did not lead to points, but it produced his second consecutive 1,000-yard season.
Parker had 106 yards rushing on 15 carries with 51/2 minutes to go in the first half. He topped 200 yards with 1:55 left in the third quarter.
It was his fifth 100-yard game this season, all in Heinz Field, and his second 200-yard game this season.
Parker became the third Steelers running back to top 1,000 yards in consecutive years. The others were Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis.
Parker lost a fumble after a 20-yard run in the first half. Najeh Davenport also fumbled, but Holmes recovered.
Parker left the game after three carries in the third quarter with the Steelers' single-game rushing record of 223 yards.
No home-cooking for Reed
Jeff Reed's 35-yard field goal try in the second quarter was blocked. It was his seventh miss this season -- all of them in Heinz Field. It also was his fourth miss inside the 40 this season.
Rookie safety a big hit
Rookie Anthony Smith, making his first NFL start at free safety for injured Ryan Clark, let the Browns know it. He slammed into two of them, receivers Braylon Edwards and Dennis Northcutt, causing both to drop passes.
Smith also came up with his first NFL interception on a deep pass by Derek Anderson in the third quarter.
"Anthony Smith was really good,'' coach Bill Cowher said. "He made some big hits and a big interception."
"He played great,'' said linebacker Joey Porter, a defensive co-captain. "We needed Anthony to come in and do exactly what he did." (Go to related story)
A good tie
It took them 56 years and 110 games, but the Steelers finally tied their series against the Cleveland Browns at 55-55. Yesterday was the first time they had a chance to tie the series against their closest rival since the second game of the 1950 season. They lost that as well as 16 of their first 18 meetings against Cleveland.
The Steelers extended their winning streak against the Browns to seven games and are 20-4 against them since the second game of the 1993 season.
Steelers: Brian St. Pierre (No. 3 quarterback), safety Ryan Clark, safety Troy Polamalu, center Marvin Philip, offensive guard Chris Kemoeatu, offensive tackle Willie Colon, wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, wide receiver Hines Ward.
Cleveland: Charlie Frye (No. 3 quarterback), safety Brian Russell, running back Jerome Harrison, center Rob Smith, offensive guard Isaac Sowells, offensive guard Fred Matua, wide receiver Travis Wilson, defensive lineman Orpheus Roye.
|12-08-2006, 09:02 AM||#2|
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