Suisham 'Now A Steeler'

Dale Lolley returned from Buffalo with notes, quotes, and insights from the Steelers' overtime win.

If there was any doubt lingering in the Pittsburgh Steelers' locker room about coach Mike Tomlin's decision to release placekicker Jeff Reed in favor of little-known Shaun Suisham, it was likely put to rest Sunday.

Suisham made a name for himself in Sunday's 19-16 overtime victory at Ralph Wilson Stadium over the Buffalo Bills, making all four of his field goal attempts – all from 40 or more yards – including a 41-yard game winner that helped the Steelers improve to 8-3.

"He's now a Steeler," said Tomlin. "Casey Hampton and others know his name now."

Tomlin's move to replace Reed, who had been with the Steelers since 2002, was not a popular one in the team's locker room.

Even though he had already missed seven field goal attempts this season, Reed was a popular teammate and had made plenty of big kicks throughout his tenure, helping the Steelers win a pair of Super Bowls.

Suisham hasn't made any of those kind of kicks yet. But his game-winner Sunday does set up a big rematch between the Steelers and Ravens next week with first place in the AFC North on the line.

Suisham's big kicks answered any questions fans had about him as well. Let's face it, even the Steelers didn't know what to expect was how Suisham would respond when called upon under pressure.

He passed the test in a big way.

"It's amazing what can happen in a month," said Suisham. "I lost my mother-in-law and was out of football. Now, I'm a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers and I was fortunate enough to be able to make the kick to win the game."

Not bad for a guy who said had he not signed with a team this season, he would have considered attempting to find a new profession.

"I didn't envision myself being here with the Pittsburgh Steelers," said Suisham. "But I'm very thankful to be here."

After Sunday, his teammates are thankful to have him.

© The Steelers matched Buffalo's empty backfield sets by taking Lawrence Timmons off the field and replacing him with cornerback Anthony Madison and going to a dime look.

It's not a move I likely would have made, but the Steelers made it work, at least until losing Bryant McFadden to a pulled hamstring.

Taking Timmons off the field, though, is a tough call to make.

© McFadden's hamstring injury may have been the most significant suffered by the Steelers against the Bills.

Nick Eason suffered a sprained MCL, but said it doesn't appear to be too bad - though he'll find out more Monday.

Ben Roethlisberger played the entire second half and overtime with a sprained right foot and it won't hold him back.

© Ryan Clark said after the game that the Bills had run that same middle screen that Fred Jackson turned into a 65-yard touchdown against the Ravens earlier this season.

But it was blocked really, really well Sunday.

The Bills found a way to get pretty much every defender in the middle of the field on the ground, allowing Jackson to go right up the middle untouched until Ike Taylor got to him inside the 5.

"It was a good play by them," said Clark, who talked about Kraig Urbik's block on him. "They blocked it really well. I had an offensive linemen chopping me down and I was the deep safety over the middle."

© The Steelers hope that James Harrison isn't suspended after drawing yet another roughing the passer penalty Sunday.

Harrison, who was vindicated for a roughing the passer penalty last week against Oakland when he was not fined by the league, said even Buffalo's offensive linemen said his roughing penalty Sunday was bogus.

"I've never had an opposing offensive linemen tell me that," Harrison said.

It looked like a pretty iffy call. In fact, it appeared that the official who called the penalty was reaching for his flag as soon as Harrison cleared the line of scrimmage.

The sad part was that the penalty seemed to give the Bills, who had been pretty listless on offense, some life.

© Even though Sunday's win was much more difficult than many would have thought, the Steelers had some monumental individual efforts.

Witness Roethlisberger, who had suffered a sprained foot at the end of the first half, scrambling for 18 yards on third-and-17, diving for the first down.

"I was just doing whatever I can to win," said Roethlisberger.

That helped set up a 48-yard field goal by Suisham into the wind that put the Steelers back on top.

And then there was Troy Polamalu's diving interception the Pittsburgh 6 on Buffalo's next possession to end another drive.

Polamalu also had three pass defenses in the game, all seemingly big ones.

"He made significant plays; timely plays," said Tomlin of Polamalu. "That's what we expect of him."

(Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.)


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