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Old 12-09-2008, 08:03 AM   #1
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Default Woodley's play sparks Steelers' win

Woodley's play sparks Steelers' win
By Scott Brown
Tuesday, December 9, 2008

LaMarr Woodley did not keep pace with fellow outside linebacker James Harrison on Sunday in their ongoing sack race. But Woodley figured prominently in the Steelers' biggest defensive play of the game. His pressure from the inside forced an ill-advised throw by Tony Romo, and Deshea Townsend intercepted the Dallas quarterback's pass and returned it 25 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

Woodley said he took an inside route to Romo because the Cowboys were overplaying him to the outside.

"He wasn't able to follow through on his pass," Woodley said, "and Deshea was in good coverage."

Woodley has 11.5 sacks this season. Harrison has 15.

Defensive end Brett Keisel will try to practice this week in anticipation of playing Sunday against the Ravens in Baltimore. Keisel has missed the past two games with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Travis Kirschke has started at right defensive end in place of Keisel, who was injured Nov. 20 against the Bengals. The 12-year veteran had six tackles and a sack in the Steelers' 20-13 win over the Cowboys.

The 10 points the Cowboys scored in the third quarter Sunday were one more than the Steelers had given up in that quarter in their first 12 games of the season. They have allowed only one touchdown in the third quarter. ... The players were given Monday off by coach Mike Tomlin and don't have to return to the team's practice facility until Wednesday. The players' scheduled day off during the season is Tuesday.

Townsend had one thought as Romo's spiral headed his way late in a close game Sunday: "Catch it, just catch it, especially with some of the drops we've been having in the secondary," the veteran cornerback said. Townsend not only caught the pass, he returned it 25 yards for a game-winning touchdown. He received a game ball for his efforts, and Tomlin and Townsend's teammates lauded the 11th-year veteran for accepting a reduced role after opening the season as a starter.

Townsend has battled hamstring problems and a heel contusion this season and has given way to Bryant McFadden and William Gay. He bided his time and made one of the plays of the season for the Steelers when Romo threw to the spot where he thought tight end Jason Witten would be.

"It's about winning," Townsend said when asked about going from a starting to a reserve role, "and when you're a true professional, that's what it's about."

Think the players on the kickoff coverage team had a little adrenaline pumping through them after the Steelers scored the tying and go-ahead touchdowns near the end of Sunday's game? Jeff Reed boomed both kickoffs into the end zone, and the Steelers limited Adam Jones and Isaiah Stanback to returns of 15 and 20 yards, respectively.

"I thought that, as impressive as anything late in that football game, was our kickoff coverage unit on those last two," Tomlin said. "Those guys were foaming at the mouth. They have been an excellent unit all year."


13 Consecutive games in which the Steelers have allowed fewer than 300 yards of total offense.

14 Record since 1970 for consecutive games of allowing fewer than 300 yards of total offense (1973 Los Angeles Rams).

20 Regular-season wins Bill Cowher had in his first two seasons as the Steelers' coach.

20 Wins Mike Tomlin has in his first two seasons as the Steelers' coach with three games left in the regular season.

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