Steelers battered and bruised

<b>EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - </b> All the injuries had to catch up to the Steelers at some point. That's not an excuse, it's a fact. <br><br> In the 12 seasons I've covered this team, I can't recall a game in which the Steelers had only five healthy linebackers on their active roster.

But that's what they did in Saturday's 33-30 victory over the New York Giants.

Where it really hurt them was on special teams, where they allowed a touchdown on the game's opening kickoff and made Willie Ponder - Willie Ponder! - look like the second coming of Billy "White Shoes" Johnson.

This is a team that needs some time off, something it will get after pulling out Saturday's game. Head coach Bill Cowher has given the players off until Wednesday. But judging by the aches and pains many of these guys are feeling, they'll be in for treatments on a daily basis anyway.

It helps that the Ravens - a team the Steelers know well - are coming to town next. This team won't need much preparation, or motivation, to beat the Ravens.
  • Jerome Bettis continues to amaze.

    His 36 carries Saturday were more than he's had in a game since 1997 when he was in his mid-20s. And he continues to look spry and hit the holes well.

    Bettis went over the 10,000-yard mark as a member of the Steelers, giving the team two players who rushed for over 10,000 yards in the black and gold.

    Only Buffalo and Dallas can lay claim to having similar duos.

  • Anybody who didn't think Eli Manning would be as successful as Ben Roethlisberger has been this season if he were with the Steelers instead of the Giants got some proof Saturday.

    Manning looked every bit as good as Roethlisberger did. His guys just didn't make the plays for him that the Steelers made for Roethlisberger.

  • That's two games without a sack for the Steelers defense, a troubling statistic.

    This team is going to have to win a lot more games 33-30 if it doesn't pressure the quarterback.

    That's what happened to the 2002 Steelers. The defense was exposed when the corners were left in coverage too long. And given the rules emphasis this season, it really doesn't matter how good your corners are if you don't get pressure.

    Of course it's tough to get pressure playing 10 on 11, which is what the Steelers are doing when they're running Alonzo Jackson out there.

  • After giving up 90 yards rushing in the first half, the Steelers allowed six yards on eight carries in the second.

    Of course Manning also threw for over 150 yards in the second half, so it balances out.

    It was a tough day for the Steelers defense, which was put in some tough situations. It allowed only 278 yards and only gave up one drive of more than 55 yards.

    But the Giants had been struggling on offense with Manning at quarterback. And they certainly didn't struggle in this game.

  • That's 10 field goals in a row made by Jeff Reed, just in case you're counting.

  • You have to love the fact Ken Whisenhunt has started to work some of the gadget plays into the offense that the team has been working on for the past several weeks. They've worked to perfection and will give future opponents some grief as they prepare to face the Steelers.

    Just when you think you've got the tendencies nailed, they come up with something different.

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