Bears-Steelers Player Notes

Get the latest news from each locker room heading into a pivotal game for both teams. The Bears look to win their ninth straight game and another step toward clinching the NFC North, while Pittsburgh is trying to get back in the AFC playoff hunt after losing three straight weeks.

Bears
  • QB Rex Grossman is a virtual lock to move up to No. 2 on the depth chart this week. He is moving much better, and his accuracy is outstanding in practice.

  • QB Kyle Orton failed to complete a pass to either starting wideout and hit on just 6 of 17 passes for 68 yards, while being sacked three times for minus-19 and a net of 49 passing yards, his most unproductive day as a pro.

  • RB Thomas Jones in on pace for 1,340 yards, which would make him the only player in franchise history other than Walter Payton to exceed 1,300 yards in a season. He has not scored a touchdown in the last seven games, though.

  • RB Adrian Peterson has averaged at least 4.4 yards per carry in each of the last five games. His 317 yards have far surpassed his first three years' total of 190.

  • WR Muhsin Muhammad didn't catch at least one pass for the first time in 51 games, although he had an opportunity for a short TD catch but wasn't able to hang on to the ball in the end zone while being closely guarded by Al Harris.

  • WR Justin Gage didn't have a single catch after getting a total of 11 receptions in the previous two games. He is in danger of losing his job, or at least some snaps, to the much faster Bernard Berrian.

  • WR Bernard Berrian had by far his most productive game of the season, with three catches for 59 yards, all but nine of the Bears' 68 receiving yards. The deep threat could take playing time from starter Justin Gage.

  • TE Desmond Clark caught two passes for six yards and also had a drop.

  • PK Robbie Gould hit four of five FG attempts, hitting from 21, 25, 35 and 40 but coming up short from 43.

  • CB Charles Tillman returned his fourth interception of the season 95 yards to thwart a Packers TD threat and set up a Bears field goal. He also had his first sack of the season, blindsiding Brett Favre with a vicious hit.

  • CB Nathan Vasher intercepted his seventh pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown that sealed the Bears' victory. He is tied for second in the NFL in interceptions.

  • MLB Brian Urlacher had 16 tackles, including 13 solos, his second-highest tackle total of the season.

    Pittsburgh Steelers

  • QB Ben Roethlisberger is listed as possible with a thumb injury. He played with the same injury last week and had career highs in most categories.

  • QB Charlie Batch will try to practice on Wednesday and if he can, he will return to No. 2. He has either not dressed or been No. 3 the past three games because of a broken right hand.

  • RB Willie Parker will remain the starter. He led the NFL in rushing with 272 yards after two games but he has only had one 100-yard game since. He leads the Steelers with 788 yards rushing and has a 4.5-yard average per carry, but he's not the kind of back that can pound defenses into submission, the way Jerome Bettis has in the past. He was yanked from the game early in the fourth quarter after he fumbled for the second time in two series.

  • RB Jerome Bettis has 16 carries for 22 yards in the past three games and has 186 on 67 carries this season.

  • RB Duce Staley was signed as a free agent last year and had 707 yards rushing in the first seven games before he injured a hamstring. He hasn't done much since. He has 148 yards this season on 38 attempts. They used him on third downs the past two weeks but he has carried only six times for eight yards in the past two games and was inactive in the previous one.

  • WR Hines Ward needs four yards to become the Steelers' leading rusher at his position. Louis Lipps holds the club lead with 388 yards rushing.

  • WR Antwaan Randle El took one snap at quarterback last Sunday and handed off.

  • WR Cedrick Wilson caught his second-longest pass of the season last week, 41 yards. His four receptions against the Bengals also were a season-high.

  • RB Verron Haynes could return to his third-down duties that were given to Duce Staley the past two games. Haynes did not dress in either of them.

  • TE Heath Miller's 33 receptions are second on the team and the most by a tight end on the team since Eric Green caught 46 in 1994.

  • TE Jerame Tuman caught his first pass since the second game of the season Sunday. It was good for 26 yards. He has three receptions in 2005.

  • LB Clark Haggans leads the Steelers with seven sacks even though he missed three games during the season after groin surgery.

  • LB Larry Foote leads the team with 94 tackles, 73 solo tackles and 7 tackles for losses.

  • CB Ike Taylor, in his first season as a starter, leads the team with 14 passes defensed.

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