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Ike Taylor earned recognition from the NFL this week for his play against the Giants.
The 33-year-old safety has earned a reputation for being a hard hitter, but feels his hit on Cruz was perfectly legal. Clark didn't appear to be gunning for Cruz' head when he nailed the receiver vying for a deflected pass in the end zone, but he was flagged for making a helmet-to-helmet hit. After replay, it appeared as if the referees had botched the call. Clark said that the officials "knew they were wrong," and made the call because of a vendetta against him:
"They had meetings about me before the game," Clark said. "So any time they see the number 25 flash, and a hit be made, it's going to be an opportunity for me to get a flag."
Clark said that the hit was exaggerated because Cruz had a rib injury. Cruz had said earlier in the week that the Steelers' defensive backs were dirty, and often blatantly committed penalties that weren't getting called.
However, not everything worked out perfectly for Mike Tomlin's team. Already ravaged with injuries as they seem to be every year, the Steelers can add two more onto the injury report in wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Chris Rainey.
Brown might be the more problematic of the duo with a mild high ankle sprain. While no prognosis has been made yet as to when Brown will return, high sprains can sometimes be a week-to-week instead of day-to-day problem.
The good news is that with the Kansas City Chiefs rolling into town at 1-7, Pittsburgh can live without the talented receiver for a game.
Rainey was hurt after being hit by Mark Herzlich, suffering a rib cartilage injury. It's unknown for how long Rainey will be out of the lineup.
With Isaac Redman filling in for Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Dwyer and the Pittsburgh Steelers still getting the job done on the ground, Ben Roethlisberger took a moment to credit his team's offensive line.
The Steelers' rushing attack struggled early with Mendenhall out with a knee injury, but has looked great in the games since Mendenhall went down again with a sore Achilles. First Dwyer ran for 107 and 122 yards in back-to-back outings before injuring his groin. Then, with the team down to its third-string running back as a starter, the Steelers won on the ground with Redman registering a career high 147 yards in Pittsburgh's 24-20 win over the New York Giants.
Although Dwyer and Redman deserve credit for filling in and bouncing off hits to fight for yards, Roethlisberger tipped his hat to the guys in the trenches. From Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
"A lot of that credit has to go to the linemen,’’ Ben Roethlisberger said. "They don’t care who’s back there running the ball, they’re going to open up holes. [Isaac Redman] had a bunch of second opportunities, spinning off of things, bouncing plays.’’
The line wasn't as good at protecting Roethlsiberger as they were opening holes for Dwyer - they allowed four sacks for a loss of 25 yards on 30 attempts - but their strong performance allowing the team to run despite injuries deserves praise.
The Pittsburgh Steelers' running game could have been expected to suffer, with a slew of injuries putting Isaac Redman in the limelight, but instead the running back gutted out the Steelers' third straight 100-yard performance on the ground.
The third-year running back put up a career high 147 yards on 26 carries in the team's 24-20 win over the New York Giants, his first ever game with even 100 yards. Although the third-year back out of Bowie State had played in 38 games for the Steelers in his three years after going undrafted, including every game in the 2010 and 2011 seasons, he'd rarely been given the opportunity to carry the load like he was on Sunday, and he did not disappoint.
The Steelers were 31st in rushing earlier in the year before Rashard Mendenhall came back from a knee injury, but he quickly left the lineup again after suffering an Achilles injury, making many expect the team's ground game to continue to disappoint. But rather than more of the doldrums, the team seemed to have found something with Jonathan Dwyer, who managed 107 and 122 yards on the ground in back-to-back weeks. However, Dwyer went down with a groin injury and was unable to play Week 9 against the Giants, forcing Redman to step in.
With the Steelers' running backs contributing regardless of who is getting the carries, David Todd writes that some of the credit should go to the offensive line:
The offensive line deserves equal billing with Redman. They consistently opened holes and dominated the Giants defense front in the run game. The Steelers finished with 158 yards rushing, 4.5 yards/att. After a shaky start, the pass protection was much improved in the second half and allowed Ben to settle in and lead two fourth quarter scoring drives. Willie Colon was a mauler and Will Johnson continues to prove to be very useful.
The Steelers were led to victory behind a somewhat unlikely source this weekend against the Giants.
The Steelers drew first blood in the second quarter with an Emmanuel Sanders four-yard touchdown reception. The Giants scored the next two touchdowns to go up 14-7, but allowed a Steelers field goal just before halftime. The Giants added two field goals in the third quarter to take a 20-10 lead into the fourth quarter. The Steelers cut into the lead with a 51-yard touchdown reception by Mike Wallace early in the fourth quarter. A Steelers fake field goal in the red zone was stopped easily on their next scoring opportunity. The Pittsburgh defense held the Giants on the ensuing possession and the Steelers were able to score a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Isaac Redman on their drive to finally retake the lead with 4:02 remaining. Redman would be the workhorse on the Steelers' final drive to kill the clock.
Fantasy studs/duds: Steelers running back Isaac Redman recorded career-highs in rushes (26) and yards (147) on Sunday and rushed for the game-winning touchdown. Hakeem Nicks had just one catch for 10 yards for the Giants. Eli Manning was not sharp throwing to Nicks or anyone else, going just 10-of-24 passing for 125 yards and an interception.
Head to SB Nation's fantasy hub for all your football needs.
Odds: The Giants did not cover the spread, as they were favored by 4.5 points. The teams did not clear the over mark either, which was set at 47 points.
For spreads on all games, go to SB Nation's NFL odds page.
Injury info: Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown injured his ankle late in the first quarter and did not return. Steelers running back Chris Rainey was injured on a kickoff return in the third quarter and left the game for the locker room with an apparent rib injury.
This story originally appeared on SBNation.com.
The hit in which the injury occurred didn't initially look bad, but as he was walking towards the sideline Rainey collapsed, and spend several minutes on the ground as the trainers tended to him. In solidarity, both the Steelers and Giants joined in prayer mid-field as Rainey was assisted off the field.
After spending some time on the bench, being further evaluated by the training staff, the Steelers carted Chris Rainey to the locker room for further evaluations. There has been no update on his status at this time.
This leaves the Steelers in an incredibly tenuous situations with their backfield. Rashad Mendenhall and Jonathan Dwyer were both out, and in their absence Isaac Redman has had a solid game, totaling over 100 yards. However without Rainey it leaves both the Steelers' running game, and special teams in a dangerously thin situation.
This story originally appeared on SBNation.com.
The Giants built on their 14-10 halftime lead with a pair of Lawrence Tynes field goals in the third quarter. The first field goal was from 50 yards out while the second was a chip shot from 23 yards as the New York drive stalled in the red zone. The second field goal was set up by a Corey Webster interception of a Ben Roethlisberger pass.
The Steelers saw Chris Rainey injured on the ensuing kickoff return. Rainey's injury was not specified but he appeared to be holding his ribs when he fell to the turf while trying to leave the field. The Steelers were driving and had a 1st-and-10 from their own 44 following a long Roethlisberger pass to Mike Wallace and a short run by Isaac Redman as the quarter came to a close.
The Steelers dominated the time of possession in the first half, holding the ball for 19:43 but couldn't hold a lead against the Giants on the scoreboard. Neither team scored until the second quarter. The Steelers got on the scoreboard first with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders from Ben Roethlisberger. The Giants answered with an Andre Brown 1-yard touchdown run. A Roethlisberger lost fumble was returned by Giants linebacker Michael Boley with 5:11 remaining in the half to give New York the lead. The fumble was challenged and reviewed but the ruling of a touchdown on the field was ultimately upheld. A Shaun Suisham field goal as the half was ending cut the Giants lead to 14-10.
Ben Roethlisberger finished the first half 12-of-18 passing for 96 yards and one touchdown. Eli Manning was 4-of-12 passing in the first half for 60 yards and one interception. Pittsburgh's Isaac Redman led all rushers with 87 yards on 14 carries. New York's Victor Cruz led all receivers with 54 yards on three catches.
At first it appeared as if Brown's gait was thrown off by losing his shoe, however while walking a long the sideline it became apparent that the Steelers' leading receiver was in pain, and struggling with his foot.
Antonio Brown's feet became tangled with the defenders on the deep route. Moments ago the Steelers listed Brown as 'questionable' to return, due to an ankle injury. Pittsburgh have turned to Jerricho Cotchery in Brown's absence. The wide receiver, picked up in the off-season has just four receptions for 42 yards on the season.
Thus far it doesn't look like Antonio Brown being on the sideline is having a huge effect on the Steelers offense. Emmanuel Sanders caught a touchdown pass moments ago, showing a perfect toe tap to keep his feet in-bounds, and ensure the score.
This story originally appeared on SBNation.com.
Ben Roethlisberger has been solid so far for Pittsburgh. He's completed 6-of-9 passes for 33 yards and has been sacked once.
Manning, meanwhile, has had a tough start. He's just 2-for-7 for 43 yards. He also threw that one interception to Taylor.
Antonio Brown has two catches for 19 yards for Pittsburgh. For New York, Victor Cruz has two catches for 43 yards. He caught a 26-yard pass from Manning right before Taylor's interception toward the end of the first quarter.
The Browns held their own, and even took a 15-14 lead in the fourth quarter as Phil Dawson kicked his fifth field goal of the game. Ultimately, though, the Browns' inability to score touchdowns hurt them, and the Ravens swooped in with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Torrey Smith to take the lead for good with 4:26 left to play. Ray Rice had 25 carries for 98 yards and a score, while Trent Richardson had 25 carries for 105 yards for Cleveland.
Meanwhile, in the other AFC North game, the Bengals lost 31-23 to the Broncos, falling to 3-5 on the season. Peyton Manning had two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter for Denver, while Andy Dalton threw for 299 yards but was sacked five times in the loss for the Bengals. A.J. Green had seven catches for 99 yards and a touchdown for the Bengals.
Both Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Dwyer will be out against the Giants at kickoff at 4 p.m. ET. Mendenhall has been battling through an Achilles injury. He was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday, but missed Friday's practice.
Dwyer, meanwhile, was listed as doubtful for Sunday's game. Dwyer is coming off back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. He has 299 yards on the season.
The Giants will be without seven players on Sunday. Those players include: linebacker Keith Rivers, linebacker Jacquian Williams, safety Kenny Phillips, linebacker Chase Blackburn, defensive end Adewale Ojomo, tight end Adrien Robinson and tight end Bear Pascoe.
The Giants (6-2) will try to win their fifth-straight game Sunday against Pittsburgh (4-3).
The Steelers go for their third-straight win against the Giants on Sunday.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the New York Giants at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. this Sunday despite the effects of Hurricane Sandy still reverberating through the New York/New Jersey region. However, the Steelers won't arrive in the area until Sunday morning because the team can't find a hotel for Saturday night, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
The hotel the team booked in Jersey City, N.J. — right on the water, it's worth mentioning — is closed. The team found itself out of luck for an alternative, since most hotels are in the same boat the original one is.
Sunday afternoon, we'll see how it affects the team, but the players aren't letting on that it's bothering them. Here's what Ryan Clark told Paulk:
"(The Giants) were facing adversity also. Once the ball is kicked, it's about playing football. The circumstances for which we get to the game are nonfactors. No one cares about how you got to the game. It's about what you do doing those three hours on the field.
"The only way it affects me is that I won't have to wear two suits. Nobody cares about your problems. Most people are happy you have them."
Kickoff is set for 4:25 p.m., when the Steelers will try to top one of the NFL's hottest teams, playing in what's sure to be their most emotional game since the Super Bowl.
The Pittsburgh Steelers released both bad and good news on their linebacking corps in their Friday injury report. LaMarr Woodley is listed as probable and expects to start on Sunday, while Stevenson Sylvester has been ruled out with an ankle injury.
The Steelers' running game continues to be hit hard by injuries, as Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Dwyer are listed as doubtful but both will miss Sunday's game against the Giants. Isaac Redman will get the start in their place.
New York will be without linebackers Chase Blackburn and Jacquian Williams, while linebacker Keith Rivers is listed as doubtful. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw, tight end Bear Pascoe, and safety Kenny Phillips are tagged as questionable.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer is listed as doubtful on the injury report, but he will not play on Sunday against the New York Giants, according to Mike Bires of the Beaver County Times. Isaac Redman will get the start in place of Dwyer and Pittsburgh's other injured running back, Rashard Mendenhall.
Redman is in his third year with the Steelers out of Bowie State. He has carried the ball 212 times for 853 yards and four touchdowns for his career. So far this season he has struggled, putting up just 2.5 yards per carry. The Steelers rushing attack has sputtered overall, as Pittsburgh ranks 21st in yards per game on the ground and is tied for 26th in yards per rush.
Despite their struggles in the run game, the Steelers are just one game back of the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North division. They are now 4-3 after two straight wins, but face a tough test on Sunday against the Giants. New York has won four straight games.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wonders if the quarterbacks selected in the 2004 NFL Draft could go down in history as the best group of quarterbacks selected in one draft.