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|11-09-2010, 06:37 AM||#1|
A Son of Martha
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]Steelers Notebook: Mendenhall halfway to Harris' mark
Steelers Notebook: Mendenhall halfway to Harris' mark
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
CINCINNATI -- Rashard Mendenhall scored another touchdown Monday night and is halfway to threatening one record that has lingered a long time in the Steelers' books.
Mendenhall rushed for his seventh touchdown. The Steelers' record is 14, set by Franco Harris in 1976, when they played 14 games, two fewer than they do now.
The seven touchdowns rushing is a personal high for Mendenhall, who is in his third season.
Sanders gets the nod
Mike Tomlin seems to have settled on one rookie wide receiver rather than mix and match with them. Emmanuel Sanders dressed for the fourth consecutive game and fifth overall. Antonio Brown did not dress for the fourth consecutive time and fifth overall.
Sanders has been getting more and more work at wide receiver and was used on occasion last week as No. 3.
Cincinnati's big defensive tackle Tank Johnson, who gave the Steelers fits last season, was out with an injury. Pat Sims replaced him. The Bengals also waived cornerback Rico Murray Monday and signed defensive tackle Clinton McDonald from their practice squad and he dressed.
Here are all of the inactives:
Steelers -- Brown, CB Keenan Lewis, RB Jonathan Dwyer, CB Crezdon Butler, OT Tony Hills, G Ramon Foster, DE Aaron Smith, No. 3 QB Charlie Batch.
Bengals -- Johnson, RB Cedric Peeman, LB Roddrick Muckelroy, C Reggie Stephens, DE Jonathan Fanene, OT Anthony Collins, WR Jerome Simpson, No. 3 QB Dan LeFevour.
Players won't decide fines
Sorry, Troy Polamalu. Commissioner Roger Goodell said active NFL players won't be deciding punishment for flagrant hits that merit fines.
Goodell wants to hear their opinions, though.
The commissioner said Monday in Cincinnati the league has been opposed to allowing active players or team officials to get involved in deciding punishments. The league recently increased its enforcement of rules against flagrant hits.
The Steelers' safety has been outspoken against the crackdown, saying it has caused paranoia around the league. Teammate James Harrison was been fined $100,000 for three hits, prompting him to talk briefly about retiring. Polamalu suggested last week that current players and team officials should be involved in deciding punishments.
Goodell indicated that's not going to happen.
"There are league executives involved and there are former players involved," Goodell said. "I think having active players and active front office executives is something the competition committee has always frowned on."
Goodell emphasized that he's not part of the fines process, which was set up with the players' association.
Last Tuesday, Goodell summoned Harrison to his office to talk about his various hits that have drawn fines.
"I always seek to get players' involvement," Goodell said. "I actually work very hard to make sure we understand the players' perspective. As a matter of fact, bringing James Harrison in last week was an opportunity to be able to hear from an active player -- what he's thinking, what's his perspective, what's he challenged with -- so we can make sure we understand that as we're going forward in the season."
Harrison mentioned the difficulty in trying to hit a moving runner.
"I think James is an outstanding player and I think he's a guy who wants to play the game within the rules," Goodell said. "He's certainly a tough football player, and I admire him very much on that level.
"I think one of the things he's frustrated by is ... when the offensive player is moving, how do I as a defensive player adjust? I think that's something that our competition committee and all of our coaches and our player committee often have talked about, and I think that's something we've got to try to continue to address."
Off to a slow start
Harrison, who had 8.5 sacks in his previous two games on "Monday Night Football," started the second quarter as if he would be shut out for the third consecutive time by Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who didn't allow a Harrison sack in either meeting last year. Whitworth was flagged for holding Harrison late in the second quarter, negating a Bengals first down.
Streak ends in a hurry
The Bengals swept the season series with the Steelers last season, in part because they didn't commit a turnover in either meeting.
That streak didn't last long this time.
Bernard Scott, who returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown at Heinz Field, fumbled the opening kickoff after a hit by rookie Emmanuel Sanders and Jason Worilds recovered at the Bengals' 25.
Four players later, Mendenhall scored on a 1-yard run to make it 7-0.
Sorry, wrong number
A press box announcement initially misidentified the Steeler who caused the fumble on the opening kickoff, triggering an interesting visual, no matter how inaccurate.
Emmanuel Sanders made the play on Bengals returner Bernard Scott, setting the offense up at the Cincinnati 25 to start the game. But in the press box, the hit was attributed not to No. 88 (Sanders) but to No. 98, nose tackle Casey Hampton, who probably hasn't run under a kickoff since junior high, if then.
Hampton, charitably listed at 325 pounds, might only be arriving at the Bengals' 25 this morning had he started running under Jeff Reed's kick at the opposite 30.
Going the distance
The Bengals came into the game having allowed eight runs of 20 yards or longer, three more than they allowed all of last season.
The Steelers wasted little time adding to that total when Rashard Mendenhall had a 20-yard run to the Bengals' 10 to set up a field goal.
William Gay's block of a Cincinnati punt in the first quarter was the first by the Steelers since Andre Frazier blocked one Nov. 3, 2008, in Washington. Gay's block led to a 25-yard Jeff Reed field goal and a 10-0 lead. ... Hines Ward broke out of a tie with Terrell Owens, now with the Bengals, to catch a pass in his 186th consecutive game. It's the third longest streak in NFL history. ... Cincinnati's defense started the game with only six sacks on the season, the same number as Harrison.
The Associated Press, and the Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac and Gene Collier contributed to this report. For more on the Steelers, read the blog, Ed Bouchette on the Steelers at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Ed Bouchette: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10313...#ixzz14sICnmr8
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