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Old 01-21-2009, 06:59 AM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Steelers receivers cast as underdogs vs. Cards' studs

Steelers receivers cast as underdogs vs. Cards' studs
By Gary Mihoces, USA TODAY

PITTSBURGH Arizona Cardinals wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston each had more than 1,000 receiving yards during the regular season. Fitzgerald and Boldin made the Pro Bowl. Fitzgerald already has set an NFL record with 419 receiving yards this postseason.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will counter in Super Bowl XLIII with no receiver who made the Pro Bowl this season. Their lone 1,000-yard receiver in regular season, Hines Ward, is coming off a knee injury in the AFC title game.

Might Pittsburgh's pass catchers, Ward, Nate Washington, Santonio Holmes and rookie Limas Sweed (notable in the AFC title game for a big drop), be playing the underdog card in the next week and a half?

"We have had the underdog thing all year," says Washington, a fourth-year pro from Tiffin University in Ohio. "Hines is quote-unquote 'too slow.' Santonio hasn't made the break out play like they thought. I've had drops. So we've been the underdogs all year. It doesn't matter to us."

Ward, a four-time Pro Bowler (2002-2005) and the MVP of Super Bowl XL, led the Steelers this season with 81 catches for 1,043 yards and seven touchdowns. He was injured during the first half Sunday with a right knee sprain. His Super Bowl status is uncertain.

"In his mind, he's playing, so chances are he is," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says.

"It's not going to be comfortable between now and game day in terms of making that happen. But it's not about comfort, particularly for Hines. So we're definitely not going to count him out. We're going to save a seat on the bus for 86."

Holmes, a first-round draft pick in 2006 from Ohio State, had eight touchdown catches in 2007. He had 55 receptions for 821 yards and five touchdowns this season.

But Holmes has made big plays in Pittsburgh's playoff victories. He had a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown against the San Diego Chargers and a 65-yard touchdown reception against the Baltimore Ravens.

Of course, it was the defense that led the way against Baltimore.

"That's what team football is all about," says Holmes. "That's what Steelers football is all about."

Washington also echoes what quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said after the AFC championship victory.

"This is a band of brothers," says Washington, who had 40 regular season catches for 631 yards and three touchdowns this year.

"Not only the receivers, this whole team has taken a lot of criticism and a lot of people saying we couldn't do it, especially when our schedule came out. 'Oh, they have the toughest schedule.' But we never got down on ourselves, and we believe in each other."

Sweed, a second-round draft pick from Texas, had six catches for 51 yards as a rookie. In the AFC title game, he was wide open for a potential 50-yard touchdown reception late in the first half, and he dropped the ball.

Tomlin had an up-close-and-personal talk with Sweed when he came back to the sideline. In the second half, Sweed had a 14-yard reception, broke up a would-be interception and delivered a big block.

What did Tomlin say to the rookie on the sideline?

"I'll leave specifically what was said between he and I, probably more important than anything else because I can't remember," Tomlin says.

"Sometimes we get caught up in moments. I said what I felt needed to be said at that time. He did respond with some plays for us.

"Sometimes he fails. He fails inside stadiums and that's part of being a young guy. But we're in January, it's time for young guys to grow up, and hopefully he falls into that category."



Find this article at:
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/footb...eceivers_N.htm
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:33 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers receivers cast as underdogs vs. Cards' studs

Well no kidding they are under dogs compared to Fitz, Boldin and Beaston, but I wouldn't want it any other way. They will all make plays on 2/1/09 to help this team win including Limas Sweed. And since we are talking about WRs, let's not forget that Heath Miller has a big advantage over Leonard Pope.
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