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Old 12-01-2008, 06:35 AM   #1
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Default Steelers Notebook: Safety Ryan Clark apologizes for big hit

Steelers Notebook: Safety Ryan Clark apologizes for big hit
But says he was just doing his job
Monday, December 01, 2008
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Ryan Clark apologized to the Patriots after the game. What he did not do specifically was apologize for what he did.

The Steelers safety delivered another brutal hit to an opposing receiver in a string of hits this season, and this one took a back seat to none.

New England's Wes Welker, the Patriots' leading receiver, ran a medium route over the middle. The pass from quarterback Matt Cassel sailed beyond his reach after it was tipped, and as it did, Clark lowered his shoulder and the boom from his deep position in center field, getting a running start.

Not one but several yellow flags quickly hit the turf and Clark was penalized for unnecessary roughness.

It was the signal hit for a brutally tough football game played in a cold rain.

"They said don't leave your feet," Clark said the officials told him. "If anybody watches the other games we played, I don't turn any of them down. It's not like I'm trying to be cheap. If anybody comes across, it's my job to tackle him, it's my job to hit him.

"The ball got tipped; he said I shouldn't have left my feet. But I don't really know how to control that. I talked to Kevin Faulk and some other guys, I told them I apologize. I couldn't find Welker after the game to tell him I wasn't trying to be dirty, it was just football."

Sack happy
James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley rang up three more sacks yesterday, making them the greatest sack duo in one season in Steelers history -- with four games left.

Harrison sacked Cassel twice, forcing fumbles his teammates recovered on both. That pushed his total to 14 sacks, one behind Mike Merriweather's record of 15 set during the strike season of 1987 when he was limited to 12 games.

Woodley now has 11 1/2 sacks, giving the tandem 25 1/2, surpassing the 24 that Greg Lloyd (10) and Kevin Greene (14) rang up in 1994, and duplicated in 2000 by Jason Gildon (13 1/2) and Joey Porter (10 1/2).

"It feels real good, but that's not the end of it," Harrison said of the duo's flourish. "We're trying to raise that total to 30-plus."

Harrison also leads the defense with six forced fumbles.

"When you have plays like that, you are going to win games," Woodley said of Harrison's two forced fumbles on his sacks.

Running up yards
Willie Parker, who left in the third quarter of the Steelers' game Nov. 20 with a re-injured knee, returned to start yesterday. He and Mewelde Moore then split the duties at halfback.

It worked well because the Steelers' 161 yards were the most on the ground since they had 164 in the second game at Cleveland.

Uncharacteristically, the Steelers had slipped to 24th in the league on the rush. Parker carried 16 times and ran for 87 yards. Moore ran 12 times for 67 yards.

"As a running back, knowing that you're going into the game running the ball, that's the biggest thrill of your day," Parker said. "We just went in there and took the life out of them."

Parker missed five full games and parts of two others this season with a sprained MCL and shoulder injury. He left in the third quarter of their game Nov. 20 when his knee was hurt again.

"I came out great and I feel good," Parker said. "I am not where I need to be, but I feel a lot better. I never thought I would be happy with something like [splitting time at the position]. I think that is the perfect thing for me right now. It's a good thing for the team, helping this team out."

Third and out
Among the most startlingly inefficient aspects of New England's offense yesterday was its performance on third down.

The Patriots ran seven third-down plays in the first half without converting any, and wound up 1 for 13.

"Third down's a big thing," said Patriots running back Sammy Morris. "Big for keeping drives going or cutting them short. When you don't make them, things get cut short pretty abruptly."

Bill Belichick professed no apparent surprise at the 1 for 13.

"They are a good third-down defense," the Patriots coach said. "They lead the league in it. I think we need to do a better job than we did. Like I said, we had our chances in some other situations as well and we just weren't able to take advantage of them."

Quick hits
Linebacker Lawrence Timmons had a chance for a 90-yard touchdown return of a fumble, but tired and was tackled at the New England 1 late in the game. Gary Russell sealed the deal with a 1-yard scoring run.

Ed Hochuli served as referee yesterday in what normally is Walt Anderson's crew of officials. Anderson is recovering from surgery.

Santonio Holmes returned a punt 29 yards in the first quarter, the longest for the Steelers this season.

Ben Roethlisberger was sacked just once, and that was not the line's fault; it came on a corner blitz.

There were plenty of big dropped passes and interceptions yesterday. Randy Moss dropped one deep pass and another in the end zone for new England. Nate Washington dropped one pass inside the five and Holmes dropped one at the six, both on deep patterns, for the Steelers. Ike Taylor dropped an interception in the end zone. Parker dropped a pass.

For the 12th time in 12 games this season, the Steelers defense did not allow a 100-yard rushing performance (despite allowing 80 in the first half) or 300 yards in total offense.

Yesterday's win was the 48th of Roethlisberger's career, tying him with Otto Graham, Dan Marino and Tom Brady for the most wins by a starting quarterback in his first five seasons in the NFL (since 1950).

Hines Ward's second-half touchdown catch tied him with Moss for most red-zone touchdown catches since 2002 with 39.

New England's red zone defense, ranked 31st in the league coming into the game, allowed three more touchdowns yesterday. On 36 trips inside the New England 20, opposing teams have now scored 25 touchdowns.

Inactives
Cornerback Byrant McFadden did not suit up. He was among the eight Steelers inactive for the game. McFadden, who has practiced the past two weeks, has not played since his forearm was broken Oct. 19 in Cincinnati. William Gay started in his spot.

The rest of the Steelers inactives: No. 3 QB Dennis Dixon, CB Fernando Bryant, RB Najeh Davenport, LB Bruce Davis, OT Tony Hills, OT Marvel Smith, DE Brett Keisel.

New England inactives: No. 3 QB Matt Gutierrez, WR Kelley Washington, RB LaMont Jordan, OT Wesley Britt, G Billy Yates, TE Tyson DeVree, DL Ty Warren, LB Adalius Thomas.
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:16 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Safety Ryan Clark apologizes for big hit

Watching that at full speed, you realize that there is a split second decision that Clark has to make to hold up. He doesnt and that is the kind of instincts I want from a Steelers safety.

If Brandon Merriweather does that to Hines ward, I would yell for the flag, expect it and have a hard time holding a grudge, because it was so close. Like Clark said.....its just football.
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:23 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Safety Ryan Clark apologizes for big hit

in my mind there in no reason to apologize. this game they play is called football and it a contact sport, but some *cough* Roger Goodell *cough* have forgotten that. but i am expecting the fine and i think it was well worth it
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:28 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Safety Ryan Clark apologizes for big hit

It was a good hit from a veteran safety. He led with his shoulder. True, he left his feet, but it's like Clark said I don't think he can control that.
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Safety Ryan Clark apologizes for big hit

Clark prob. will get fined for the hit, but legal in every way. He charged with his shoulders not helmet, and as well thought Welker had the ball.
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Safety Ryan Clark apologizes for big hit

F**k apologys. This is a contact sport. Hit em' again....
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Safety Ryan Clark apologizes for big hit

No need to apologize for playing football. F**k 'em if they can't take a hit.
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:23 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Safety Ryan Clark apologizes for big hit

Quote:
Originally Posted by steeltheone View Post
F**k apologys. This is a contact sport. Hit em' again....
What he said....
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Safety Ryan Clark apologizes for big hit

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Originally Posted by steeltheone View Post
F**k apologys. This is a contact sport. Hit em' again....
As long as it "clean",.......EXACTLY.
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Old 12-01-2008, 01:20 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Safety Ryan Clark apologizes for big hit

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Originally Posted by steelreserve View Post
No need to apologize for playing football. F**k 'em if they can't take a hit.
Football (especially the NFL) is a fraternity of men. None of them likes to see a good guy like Welker get hurt and that is the reason for the apology by Clark. Classy move by Clark, IMO.

What irks me the most, is some players that are punks, bee-atches or those who have no respect for the game would have made the hit and then probably taunted Welker.
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