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Old 12-04-2010, 09:06 AM   #1
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Default Steelers' Mendenhall finds a rhythm

Steelers' Mendenhall finds a rhythm
By John Harris
Saturday, December 4, 2010

Running back Rashard Mendenhall didn't know he would carry the ball a season-high 36 times for 151 yards last week against Buffalo. His previous season-high was 27 carries against Cleveland on Oct. 17 in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's first game back from a four-game suspension. "It's hard to tell. You don't really know going into the game. The tone of the game is going to kind of lay itself out,'' Mendenhall said. "As the game went on, you knew it was going to be that kind of game.'' Mendenhall admitted to some impatience in not recording a 100-yard rushing game since the third week of the season. "As a competitor, you want it to be on your back, you want it on your shoulders,'' Mendenhall said. "It feels good when you find rhythm, and you're able to get things going.''

Strong safety Troy Polamalu was a full participant at Friday's practice after missing the first two practices of the week. Resting early in the week after games is a pattern that Polamalu has followed recently. "At this point, it helps a lot,'' Polamalu said.

Despite the NFL cracking down on illegal hits on quarterbacks, Roethlisberger has not drawn a single roughing-the-passer penalty this season. At the end of one play at Buffalo last week, Roethlisberger was the recipient of extracurricular hits from Bills linemen. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians explained why Roethlisberger can't get a call from officials. "All the big guys tend not to get any calls,'' Arians said. "Pure pocket passers tend to get a lot of calls. Ben, (Tampa Bay's) Josh Freeman, you don't see him getting any roughing-the-passer calls because he's a big, strong guy who's very mobile. It's just the way the rules are.'' (As usual Air Head Arians has his head up his butt. The reason that Ben can't calls is Goodell wants him out of the game. - mesa)

Baltimore fullback Le'Ron McClain (ankle) practiced yesterday after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday and is expected to play. So is wide receiver Derrick Mason, who also practiced after missing Thursday's practice because of illness. Starting left tackle Michael Oher (knee) didn't practice and is questionable.

John Harris can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.
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