Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report

Jerome Bettis, back in the flow after he opened the season demoted and on the sideline, is moving on up the NFL charts but wants to stay put in Pittsburgh for at least one more season.

Bettis has 444 yards rushing in his past five games and is within 14 yards of passing Jim Brown for sixth on the NFL's all-time rushing list. Bettis has rushed for 12,299 yards in 11 seasons including 757 yards in this one even though he carried only 30 times in the first five games.

Bettis wants to retire as a Steeler.

"Oh, no question, that's what I want to do. That's important to me to be able to finish that in an era where players don't do that very often. That would be a great way to finish my career."

There's been some question whether the Steelers will want Bettis back, especially after they promoted Amos Zereoue ahead of him to open the season. Bettis was back as the starter after six games.

"I just couldn't imagine seeing Jerome in another uniform," wide receiver Hines Ward said.

Nothing fancy
Against the Chargers on Sunday, the Steelers didn't amass a lot of yardage nor throw a lot of passes, just a lot of efficiency. Tommy Maddox completed 11 of 18 passes for 160 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 129.6 passer rating. Antwaan Randle El also completed his lone pass for 9 yards.

The Steelers ran 43 times for 181 yards and Jerome Bettis ran 32 times for 115 yards, all of them season highs. Bettis, who passed Marcus Allen to become seventh on the NFL career rushing list, also ran for his seventh TD of the season.

The offense stuck to the ground early and it helped open up the passing game, a blueprint they should have been following all season long. It took the pressure off Maddox.

Not so cool Brees
Drew Brees completed 16 of 26 for 198 yards and was sacked just once. But he was intercepted twice, including one that went for a 25-yard touchdown. Brees threw one TD pass and had a 65.9 passer rating before he was yanked late in the fourth quarter in favor of Doug Flutie, who was 5 of 10 for 42 yards. LaDainian Tomlinson ran 22 times for 91 yards and two touchdowns and the Chargers had 116 total on 27 carries.

Quick Hits

  • QB Tommy Maddox, in his last eight games, has thrown 11 TD passes, eight interceptions and has an 85.4 passer rating.
  • CB Deshea Townsend has started only the past seven games but has more passes defensed with 13 than the former starting duo of Dewayne Washington and Chad Scott combined, with 12.
  • LB Joey Porter's fifth sack of the season tied him for eighth on the Steelers career list with Kevin Greene at 35.5. Porter, who missed the first two games of the season with a gunshot wound, has not had fewer than nine sacks in any season since his rookie year in 1999.
  • WR Hines Ward leads the AFC with 93 receptions and is tied for the lead with 10 touchdown catches. One of his catches for 25 yards Sunday was counted as a run by the hometown stats crew even though it appeared it was a pass. He needs 7 receptions for his second straight 100-catch season.
  • DE Kimo von Oelhoffen leads the team with eight sacks and is trying to become the first pure DE in 18 years to lead the Steelers in sacks.

Quote to Note
"We all wanted to see Bussie get his numbers. I want to see him climb up that chart as high as he can." - WR Plaxico Burress on Jerome Bettis, now seventh on the all-time NFL rushing list.


Steel City Insider Top Stories