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Old 10-24-2010, 10:56 AM   #1
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Default Week 7: Key matchups

Week 7: Key matchups
By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times

Sunday October 24, 2010 12:00 AM

Starks & Adams vs. Wake & Misi

For obvious reasons, a lot of attention will be paid to Steelers right outside linebacker James Harrison as he takes on Dolphins left tackle Jake Long. But the one-on-one battles between Steelers tackles Max Starks and Flozell Adams against the Dolphins’ outside ’backers also loom large.

Last week in a win over the Browns, the Steelers didn’t give up a sack. That marked the second time in five games a Steelers QB wasn’t sacked. Today, though, Starks and Adams will have their hands full.

Cameron Wake, who played at Penn State, is tied for fourth in the NFL with six sacks. Wake got three of those sacks last week when Miami won at Green Bay. Koa Misi, a rookie second-round draft pick, is second on the team with three sacks.

So far this season, the Steelers’ offensive line has done a solid job protecting their quarterbacks. But today, Starks and Adams must elevate their games to keep the pressure off Ben Roethlisberger.

Taylor vs. Marshall

They call Miami’s Brandon Marshall, right, “The Beast.” He’s a huge wide receiver at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds. And he’s a productive pass catcher who’s tied for fourth in the NFL with 37 catches.

So often in his career with the Steelers, cornerback Ike Taylor has asked to take on an opponent’s star wideout and shadow him regardless of where he lines up. Today, Taylor could get his wish. He’s still the Steelers’ best cover corner and he does have the size (6-2, 195) needed to match up with Marshall.

During the last three years when he played in Denver, Marshall was one of the league’s most productive WRs with over 100 catches and 1,000 receiving yards each year. But because of constant off-field issues (domestic violence, DUI, etc.), the Broncos traded him away. So far in Miami, the only problem he’s causing are to opposing DBs trying to cover him.

Reed vs. Carpenter

Since today’s point spread has the Steelers favored by three, the outcome could come down to the kickers.

In Miami, Dan Carpenter is feeling pretty good about himself. Last year, in his second season as a pro, he connected on 25 of 28 field goal tries (89.3 percent) and made it to the Pro Bowl. Last week, he kicked three field goals in a 23-20 win at Green Bay, including a 44-yard game-winner in overtime.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s Jeff Reed isn’t the most confident kicker in the league right now. In fact, he hasn’t made a field goal since booting a 24-yard chip shot on Sept. 26 in Tampa.

Last week against Cleveland, Reed didn’t try a field goal. In a 17-14 loss to Baltimore on Oct. 3, he missed field goals of 49 and 45 yards (the 49-yarder clanged off the goal post). Mike Bires
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