Game Day Notebook:

Reliving a key Super Bowl play with Sunday night game analyst Cris Collinsworth, and more:

Steelers fans don't like to forgive Cris Collinsworth his Cincinnati Bengals pedigree, but the NBC Sunday Night Football analyst has become the best in his business.

It's a personal opinion, and one shared by Pro Football Weekly, which ranked Collinsworth No. 1 among NFL game analysts last season.

Collinsworth, of course, is working Sunday night's Steelers-Colts game in Indianapolis with Al Michaels, and he might be able to expand on an interesting topic he brought up about the Steelers' last drive in Super Bowl XLV.

Here's what Collinsworth wrote in his blog in late July after looking at the coaches' tape:

"The third down throw at the end of the game to Mike Wallace looked like a called skinny post. For some reason Wallace slowed down. If that were a skinny post and Wallace blew it, it was huge because the safety could not have gotten there and the throw looked to be perfect.....IF it were a skinny post."

If Wallace didn't slow down, he at least turned left for an out as the pass sailed over his head incomplete.

The parties involved admit at least that the last-drive communication problems were due in part to receivers playing new positions because of injuries to Emmanuel Sanders and his backup as a "position-flexible" wide receiver, Arnaz Battle.

But those parties didn't want to talk about the third-down play that Collinsworth thinks should've been a 67-yard go-ahead touchdown.

Is Collinsworth right?

* Wallace: "I don't even remember. Maybe."

* Ben Roethlisberger: "Honestly, I don't remember, to think that far back."

* Scottie Montgomery (WRs coach): "I don't remember it that way."

Montgomery smiled as if he were repeating a stock answer.

Perhaps Collinsworth has received the same shoulder shrugs during his pre-game prep work. Or maybe he dug up the answer and will share it with viewers during Sunday night's game.


Here's Montgomery on Sanders, whose role with the offense continues to expand in his second season:

"I've been around a lot of young guys in this profession and I can't say I've been around many as sharp as he is from the standpoint of knowing every position on the field. That's kind of unique. A guy comes in as a rookie and I think he played at four different spots last year. That's every spot that we have on the football field at the receiver position and having to know hots and sites at every position, strong side, weak side. That's impressive. I can't say that I know anyone else as a rookie in this league that had to come in and play so many spots and handle it and deal with some adversity, and bounce back from adversity. That's his deal. He's as sharp as they come. And he can run. He can pick 'em up, put 'em down. He can catch it. Those are kind of unique qualities to have all in one person, one guy, at such a young age, but if he'll continue to work and get stronger, mentally and physically, in this football game here, he'll be a hell of a player."


Jerricho Cotchery's first appearance as a Steelers wide receiver came in the preseason home opener when he caught 2 passes for 49 yards – one a 20-yard touchdown pass from Byron Leftwich.

"As the game went on it continued to get tighter and tighter on me," Cotchery said of his hamstring. "The coaching staff pulled me and we started rehabbing it. We were very cautious at that time."

He returned to practice before the opener against the Baltimore Ravens and pulled it again. Cotchery missed the first two games but says he's ready for tonight's game against the Colts.

"Aw, man, when I first walked in the locker room in the first preseason game, to see my name on the black and gold jersey, it was exciting," said the former New York Jet. "I was excited to be out there. To have that setback and having to wait this long to get back on the field has been very frustrating. But the guys, the coaching staff, everybody's been supportive of me and helped me through."

Cotchery, if active with five other healthy wide receivers, would likely only see spot duty.


Only Brett Keisel has been ruled out of the game by the Steelers. He'll be replaced at right defensive end by 2009 first-round pick Ziggy Hood, with this year's first-round pick, Cameron Heyward, expected to see more playing time in reserve. Cornerback Bryant McFadden has been replaced in the starting lineup by William Gay even though McFadden's not on the injury list.

The Colts' injury list is much longer, with QB Peyton Manning and LB Ernie Sims out and 12 other players listed as questionable. Of the questionable starters, the Indianapolis Star put the chances of playing this way:

* Expects to play: QB Kerry Collins (sore throwing shoulder) and DEs Dwight Freeney (abdomen) and Robert Mathis (chest).

* Unlikely to play: DT Fili Moala and G Ryan Diem with high ankle sprains, and MLB Gary Brackett and SS Melvin Bullitt with shoulder injuries.

* Position in danger of extinction: Dallas Clark (foot), Brody Eldridge (knee) and Jacob Tamme (concussion) are the only tight ends on the Colts' roster. The expectation is that one and maybe two will miss the game.

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