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Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his role in the Steelers 16-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Suisham went three-for-three, making field goals of 20, 34, and 34 yards. His second 34-yarder was a game-winning kick as time expired.
It was the fifth game-winner of his career and Suisham's second time winning this honor. The last time Suisham was named player of the week was back in 2007 with the Washington Redskins.
So far this season, Suisham is eight-for-eight on field goals and nine-for-nine on extra points. His longest field goal of the season was a 45-yarder. The Steelers signed Suisham on Nov. 16, 2010 after stints with the Cowboys, 49ers and Redskins.
Pittsburgh's win over Philadelphia improved their record to 2-2 on the season. The Steelers play the Thursday night game in Week 6, travelling to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans.
The Pittsburgh Steelers' Troy Polamalu and LaMarr Woodley went down in Week 5, and are unlikely to play next Thursday night against the Tennessee Titans.
Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu has already been ruled out of Thursday night's Week 6 meeting with the Tennessee Titans due to injury, according to head coach Mike Tomlin. Polamalu re-aggravated his injured right calf during Sunday's victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
The veteran safety had originally sustained the injury before a playoff game last season against the Denver Broncos. He hurt it against before the season-opener against the Broncos, and returned to game action for the first time against Philadelphia on Sunday. It appeared that Polamalu re-injured himself during the first quarter following Michael Vick'ssecond fumble of the game. After limping off the field, reports said that he would not return.
"I almost had a mental collapse when I saw him get hurt. Sometimes I think my love for him is a negative. When he's not playing, I want him out there. It's no indictment on the guys who come in. But part of why I play here and part of why I come back every year is to play with him."
This story originally appeared at SB Nation.
On Sunday afternoon against the Philadelphia Eagles, Timmons finally stepped up in an obvious way that made people take notice. The sixth-year man out of Florida State reminded folks why the Steelers gave him a nice contract extension last year.
On the day, Timmons collected nine tackles including a variety of big stops in the run game. Neal Coolong does a nice job of summing up his performance over at Behind The Steel Curtain:
Heading into Week 5, Timmons had 12 total tackles. At the final buzzer, he had nine tackles -- eight solo -- in Week 5 alone. This doesn't speak of the slew of pressure he generated. There was a stretch in the first half where he had a forced fumble and recovery, a tackle for loss and a pressure. All of those plays came on second down, and of the two where the Eagles retained the ball, it set up third-and-long situations.
It will be interesting to see if Timmons can keep his level of play high on Thursday night against the Tennessee Titans.
After a slow start, the Steelers jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the second quarter on a Rashard Mendenhall touchdown and a Suisham field goal.
The Eagles got their act together in the third quarter, when quarterback Michael Vick found LeSean McCoy for a 15-yard touchdown pass. Another Suisham field goal extended the Steelers lead to 13-7 early in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles then took a 14-13 lead on the ensuing drive when a Vick touchdown pass to Brent Celek capped an epic 17-play, eight minute drive.
But as he has done so many times before, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led the team down the field in the game's final moments, setting up Suisham's game-winning score.
The game was one of missed opportunities for the Eagles, who squandered many chances to score points. The most important came in the first quarter when Vick fumbled the ball while diving for a touchdown when the game was still 0-0. Vick also lost another fumble on the afternoon.
For anyone brave enough to start Rashard Mendenhall, they would be pleased with the results. His 81 yards on just 14 carries was a good output for his first game in eight months. As for the Eagles, running back LeSean McCoy had only 53 yards rushing, but he was able to get a receiving touchdown.
Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown also had a good day, as he had a game-high seven receptions for 86 yards.
According to the spreads, the Steelers were favored by three points so they didn't cover the spread despite the win.
The Steelers lost two key members of their defense, as both Troy Polamalu and LaMarr Woodley left the game early with injuries. Polamalu left the game at the end of the first with a calf injury while Woodley's oft-injured hamstring flared up.
The Eagles remained relatively healthy during the game, with only Mychal Kendricks suffering a leg injury but he returned after only missing a couple of series.
Next team on the schedule
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This story originally appeared on SBNation.com.
The Steelers were not able to keep their hot ways alive after scoring 10 points in the second quarter, but their ground-focused attack started showing signs of progress late in the quarter with Rashard Mendenhall leading the team into the red zone. The balance for the Steelers is evident by the team's output of 157 passing yards and 112 yards rushing.
Mendenhall leads the team with 65 yards on 10 carries. Ben Roethlisberger is 17-of-31 throwing for 157 yards. Antonio Brown has been Big Ben's favorite target this afternoon, as he leads the team with 6 receptions for 66 yards.
The Steelers were sleepwalking through the first 20 minutes of the game offensively before they put together a 12-play, 75-yard scoring drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown run by Rashard Mendenhall with 5:01 left in the half.
Pittsburgh drove the field late in the second quarter, but had to settle for a 20-yard field goal shortly before halftime.
The Steelers' defense has kept the team in the game through the early offensive struggles, as they have forced two turnovers and have constantly been getting pressure on Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. Lawrence Timmons has been leading the charge with four tackles, two for loss.
Vick has just 70 yards passing, while running back LeSean McCoy has been held to 27 yards on eight carries.
As for the Steelers offensively, Ben Roethlisberger is 15-for-25 for 137 yards. In his first game back from injury, Mendenhall has 20 yards rushing on four carries.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley left the team's game against the Philadelphia Eagles in the second quarter with a hamstring injury.
The Steelers look to move to 2-2 against the Eagles, but safety Troy Polamalu has limped off the field with an injury.
The Eagles were driving down the field early in the quarter, reaching the Pittsburgh 3-yard line. On 1st-and-goal, the Eagles had quarterback Michael Vick run up the middle, only to have the ball forced out by Ryan Clark. The Steelers recovered the ball in the end zone.
On the ensuing drive, the Steelers appeared to have gained momentum with a 24-yard run by Rashard Mendenhall into Eagles territory, but it was called back on a penalty. Penalties have been a big problem for the Steelers, as they committed five penalties resulting in 51 lost yards.
The Eagles took over with a minute left in the quarter when Vick fumbled again on the Eagles 30-yard line. The Steelers will begin the quarter in good field position due to the turnover.
Philadelphia is outgaining the Steelers 82-30, with the Steelers only having four rushing yards in the opening 15 minutes. Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons is having a big game so far, as he has had three tackles, one of which was for a loss.
Philadelphia will be without wideout Riley Cooper, tackle Nate Menkin, and many others against Pittsburgh this afternoon. The Steelers, on the other hand, will be without running back Jonathan Dwyer, linebacker Adrian Robinson, guard Kelvin Beachum and others.
Per an official team release via Twitter, the inactives for Pittsburgh are as follows
The inactives for Philadelphia as reported by SB Nation's Bleeding Green Nation are:
Starting in the place of Akeem Jordan will be Jamar Chaney.
The game will kick off at 1:00 p.m. Eastern and will be televised on Fox.
Here's a look at the NFL TV schedule for Week 5. The newly-healthy Steelers will try to avoid going 1-3 in their matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles at 1:00 Sunday on FOX. Joining them on FOX at that time will be Packers and Colts, as well as the Falcons and Redskins, as Atlanta tries to keep its undefeated season going against Robert Griffin III and company.
CBS, meanwhile, will have all three of the Steelers' AFC North divisional rivals: the Ravens take on the Chiefs, the Dolphins play the Bengals, and the Browns face the Giants. The Browns, of course, are still looking for their first win, but Steelers fans will hope at least one of the Ravens and Bengals ends up losing so their team can make up some ground.
The Steelers coming off a bye week trying to get back to .500 with Pennsylvania showdown against the Eagles.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison and safety Troy Polamalu have been listed as probable for Sunday's contest against the Philadelphia Eagles. Both players have missed the majority of the season due to injury.
Harrison has been sidelined since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-August to repair his left knee. He missed the entirety of the preseason and has been cautious about re-aggravating the area. Polamalu has been out since sustaining a calf injury against the Denver Broncos in the season opener. Both players were able to return to practice on Wednesday and participated fully in drills.
In addition, running back Rashard Mendenhall and offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert were listed as probable for Week 5. Mendenhall has been out since suffering a torn ACL at the end of last season. Gilbert has been out of commission since suffering a left knee injury against the Broncos.
In an article by Mike Bires of the Timesonline.com, McCoy recalled the 2008 "Backyard Brawl" between Pitt and West Virginia that took place in Heinz Field, where he led the Panthers to a 19-15 victory on the strength of his 187 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
"My No. 1 memory of Heinz Field was beating West Virginia in my last game at Heinz Field," McCoy said in the article. "For sure, playing the Steelers at Heinz Field is going to be special."
McCoy is currently third in the NFL in rushing yards with 384 and one touchdown. His Eagles are currently 3-1 after defeating the division rival New York Giants on Sunday night in Week 4.
"I have tons of tickets," McCoy went on to say in the article. "A lot of my old teachers, friends and coaches will be at the game. I'm excited to be back."
While it appears that the Pittsburgh Steelers will get the services of key defensive players Troy Polamalu and James Harrison back on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, they still might not be on the field for every down, according to defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau in a report by Dave Bryan of the Steelers Depot on Thursday.
Here's LeBeau, from Bryan's article, speaking about his defensive stalwarts:
"I'm looking forward to having our defense back together. They might not be able to play the whole game but we'll get a lot of quality snaps from them. They both looked real well in the practices the last few days, and I'm anxious to see them play."
With a strained calf, Polamalu has been sidelined for the Steelers' last two games, while Harrison hasn't seen the field since last season's postseason loss to the Denver Broncos in an AFC Wild Card game.
Kickoff in Pittsburgh is set for 1 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon.
The Steelers have struggled to move the ball on the ground, and that has not been lost on the players.
James Harrison completed practice for the second consecutive day on Thursday, and it looks as if the Steelers linebacker will be able to play on Sunday.
RBs coach Kirby Wilson said Mendenhall won't get 55 snaps Sunday but added #Steelers would like him to get "a significant amount of work"— Mike Prisuta (@DVEMike) October 4, 2012
Mendenhall hasn't played since surgery on his ACL, which he tore in last season's regular-season finale. He's back to full speed in practice, but the Steelers are being understandably cautious about rushing the star running back into full-time duty. Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer weren't stellar in his absence, as the team was last in the league in yards per carry with a measly 2.6. It's not fully clear how the running back rotation will sort itself out besides that Mendenhall won't get all the team's carries. Redman is currently listed as his backup.
The fifth-year running back out of Illinois has averaged 4.1 yards per carry on his career, and his 66.0 yards per game -- a stat that includes his rookie year, when he was not the team's full-time ball carrier -- is more than the 65.0 yards per game the Steelers have mustered as a team in their first three games.
The Pittsburgh Steelers run defense is allowing 101 yards per game, two years removed from allowing only 62.8 yards per game. Part of the problem could be the loss of players such as defensive tackle Aaron Smith and linebacker James Farrior.
"That's embarrassing when you give up 100 yards around here. Even though we know [McFadden] did it on one run, basically, but that's not an excuse. You get 100, you get 100."
McFadden had one big run for 64 yards, but the Steelers also allowed Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice to rush for 107 yards in the regular season opener. On Sunday, they have to face Philadelphia Eagles running back LeShawn McCoy who is third in the league in rushing this season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were not missing any players at Wednesday practice, as they expect to have Troy Polamalu, James Harrison and Rashard Mendhenall active for Sunday's game against the Eagles.
While the Steelers were enjoying terrific success with Ben Roethlisberger, Tomlin believed he could use the talents of Vick to make the offense more dangerous.
As Bouchette points out, Tomlin wasn't able to acquire Vick for two main reasons:
Two things prevented Tomlin from bringing Vick to Pittsburgh. The main reason was the Rooneys were dead set against it. They had no desire to bring on a felon, just out of prison, and all the negative reaction his signing would bring, both internally and externally. Plus, the Steelers were reigning Super Bowl champs.
Bouchette then talks about the timing of it all back in 2009, when Roethlisberger was trying to fend off a civil suit for alleged rape. Tomlin didn't feel the time was right to add a player such as Vick to the quarterback depth chart.
"Given some of the things that my quarterback was going through, I didn't think it was the appropriate time to add another quarterback to the mix," Tomlin told NBC-TV’s Bob Costas that year.
The Pittsburgh Steelers didn't move much in the power rankings during their bye week, but they have a lot to prove as they get back on the field.
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive veterans James Harrison and Troy Polamalu should play in Sunday's Week 5 contest against the Philadelphia Eagles, head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters on Tuesday. The Steelers' defense has yet to play a game with the former All-Pros in the lineup.
Harrison's return would end his recovery from a surgically repaired knee that has forced him to miss Pittsburgh's first three games of the regular season. The nine-year veteran returned to practice last Tuesday, but a few setbacks forced the Steelers to slowly bring him along.
Meanwhile, Polamalu will see his first action since the season-opener at the Denver Broncos. The 31-year-old Polamalu has been dealing with a calf injury.
The return of both players will be welcomed, as entering Week 5 the Steelers are ranked 30th in the league in quarterback sacks – in four of his last five seasons, Harrison has tallied double-digit sack totals. Both Harrison and Polamalu should upgrade the Steelers' pass rush and coverage tremendously.
This story originally appeared at SB Nation.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall will play this Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Mendenhall's return will mark the end of his recovery from offseason knee surgery that repaired a torn ACL. Mendenhall suffered the injury during last season's regular-season finale.
The return of the 5-foot-10, 225-pound tailback will be welcomed by the Steelers offense, which currently ranks 31st in the NFL in rushing yards per game (65.0). Backup Isaac Redman has yet to total more than 50 rushing yards in a game.Jonathan Dwyer also has handled a bulk of the carries in the Steelers' first four games.
That trend should change when Mendenhall takes over as the Steelers featured back. In two of his last three seasons, the University of Illinois product has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark.
It's still unclear how fully recovered Mendenhall is, but he has been seen cutting and running well in practice for weeks now. The Steelers have been holding Mendenhall out for precautionary reasons.
This story originally appeared at SB Nation.
The Pittsburgh Steelers' Week 5 opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles, seemed to do whatever they wanted Sunday night against the New York Giants' defense in a 19-17 victory. And with the Steelers offense struggling, the match-up would seem to favor the visiting Eagles.
But, as Dave Bryan of SteelersDepot.com points out, the Eagles offense, through its first four games of the 2012 season, is struggling to put points on the board, especially on the road.
In four games the Eagles have averaged 16.5 points a game which ranks them 30th overall in the league heading into Monday night. Their season high came against the Baltimore Ravens in week 2 when they scored 24 points in the win. In there first two road games they scored a total of 23 points.
Bryan also points out that Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick has struggled in his two road games, completing just 49.5-percent of his passes and compiling a 56.5 pass rating. Meanwhile, the Steelers defense has limited opponents' big plays, and that's one of the big ways the Eagles are scoring.
The Eagles added 5 more explosive players to their season total Sunday night against the New York Giants, which gives them 23 on the season now, or nearly 6 a game.
Needless to say, Sunday's matchup could favor the Steelers more than some may think.
It seems a little bit early to be thinking about playoff positioning after just four weeks of NFL play, but match-ups in Week 5 could find the Pittsburgh Steelers in a serious hole when looking at the AFC North standings.
Obviously, 1-2 wasn't an optimal start for Pittsburgh, especially considering the team lost a seemingly winnable game against the Oakland Raiders, giving Oakland its only win of the year thus far. But with the 3-1 Philadelphia Eagles next on the docket, Pittsburgh could see things spiral out of control quickly, as Mike Bires pointed out via Twitter.
While Pittsburgh plays a tough opponent, both of the teams above .500 in the division have easier matchups: the 3-1 Baltimore Ravens head to Kansas City, whose only win on the season was against the winless Saints, while the 3-1 Cincinnati Bengals host the one-win Miami Dolphins.
If those two games go as predicted and the Steelers lose to Philadelphia, they could be 1-3 in a conference with a pair of 4-1 teams. The season is still very young, and the schedule makes sure everybody's strength of schedule is close enough, so Pittsburgh will have its share of easy games later this year, but a deficit that large this early would certainly put other teams in the driver's seat for the division title.
The Pittsburgh Steelers could have James Harrison back in time for Week 5. The veteran linebacker has not played this season since undergoing knee surgery in August.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, coming off a Week 4 bye, will get back Rashard Mendenhall and Stevenson Sylvester and possibly Troy Polamalu. The status of James Harrison's return from a knee injury is still unclear.
Mendenhall has been out since tearing his ACL in the team's regular season finale last season. He's been slowly working his way back into playing shape while the Steelers' offense has struggled to establish itself on the ground -- tallying 65 yards per game, the third-worst average in the league, on only 2.6 yards per carry. Mendenhall, who has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in both of the NFL seasons he's been able to play 16 games, will likely immediately rise to the top of the depth chart over Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer. Although Mendenhall praised his teammates, Redman admitted the team's running back picture would see him in a lesser role:
"[Mendenhall] will come in and be the feature guy, and that keeps me on the sidelines and we will come in to spell him. I think Rashard has that gifted ability to make those quick cuts and get to the outside and have those big, long, breakaway runs."
Redman currently leads the team with a paltry 72 yards through three games. Mendenhall sat for the team's first three games and was able to use a Week 4 bye as additional time to rehabilitate the knee into game-ready shape.
Harrison was out of practice again on Wednesday, and the missing time from all of training camp and off-season workouts is mounting. Bires notes that Harrison's inability at this point to practice in two straight days. The 34-year-old hard-hitter practiced on Tuesday only, as he continues to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery that took place on Aug. 15.
The team will not practice the rest of this week, reports Bires, as Pittsburgh holds out hope that Harrison will be able to contribute when the team faces the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 7.
As Bires says in his article, Harrison's replacements aren't quite filling his shoes:
"Coach Mike Tomlin always likes to say "the standard is the standard" when a backup has to replace an injured starter. But that hasn't been the case at ROLB with [Chris] Carter. At least [Jason] Worilds has one of the Steelers' five sacks."
Bires also noted that if Harrison can't go against the Eagles, he predicts Worilds to start in place of Carter.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison had to leave the Steelers' training facility on Wednesday before practice because his knee was bothering him. Harrison's agent, Bill Parise, spoke with Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about Harrison's issue.
"It's a little bit of a setback," said agent Bill Parise, who spoke with Harrison after he went home. "Hopefully, it's not something that will derail our plans."
After Harrison expressed optimism on his Twitter account after his first practice on Tuesday, it now appears likely that the 2008 defensive player of the year will miss his fourth-consecutive game when the Steelers play the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 7.
Harrison missed all of training camp because of the injured knee and did not participate in a full practice until being activated from the physically unable to perform list on Aug. 28. Harrison did miss five games during the 2011 season, one because of a suspension and four because of a broken orbital bone.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison tweeted that he was able to fully participate in Steelers practice on Tuesday for the first time this season.