Notebook: Bettis AFC Player of Week

PITTSBURGH – Jerome Bettis was named AFC Player of the Week for his 101-yard rushing performance against the Chicago Bears.

Bettis averaged 5.9 yards per each of his 17 carries in helping the Pittsburgh Steelers break their three-game losing streak. It was the 61st 100-yard game of his career and his 50th for the Steelers. Only Emmitt Smith (78), Walter Payton (77), Barry Sanders (76) and Eric Dickerson (64) have more career 100-yard rushing performances.

Bettis appeared on ESPN's Pardon The Interruption yesterday to talk about the Bears game and Sunday's game at Minnesota against the 8-5 Vikings. Bettis was asked by host Tony Kornheiser about comments made by Vikings nose tackle Pat Williams, who said Bettis wouldn't find the running so easy on Sunday.

"He said that the last time I played against him and I rushed for over 100 yards then," Bettis said. "So we'll see."

The 317-pound Williams played nose tackle for the Buffalo Bills in 2001 when Bettis rushed for 114 yards on 22 carries. Williams was also the Bills' nose tackle last season when Willie Parker rushed for 102 yards on 19 carries.


Vikings coach Mike Tice said the NFL sent a memo to all teams warning them about pumping crowd noise into their stadiums. The warning comes on the heels of reports that the Indianapolis Colts used microphones throughout their domed stadium to amplify crowd noise in their Monday night game against the Steelers.

"Everybody got a memo," Tice said. "Someone must be breaking rules."

Tice joked that he hoped his organization would break the rules Sunday when the Steelers visit the Metrodome, but he doesn't believe it'll actually be much of a factor.

"You hope it helps your defense against their offense … if those defensive ends can get off the ball faster than the tackles," he said. "Other than that, I don't really see how crowd noise can help. … If you get by in those passing situations you get used to it. Your ears become accustomed to crowd noise."

Tice said the Kingdome in Seattle, where he played for 10 years, "was the loudest I've ever been around because of the cement. That was a very loud place. The loudest outdoor stadium I've been in is Kansas City."


Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said "we'll have to change the cadence up" to deal with the expected noise level at the Metrodome. The other key, he said, is to "get in there and establish who we are right away."

The Colts, of course, took a quick lead on the Steelers, who committed five false-start penalties.

Except for the noise, Roethlisberger is looking forward to playing in another dome on Sunday.

"It's a plus for me as a quarterback, and probably for a lot of guys," he said. "When it's cold outside, your joints are a little stiff, but it'll be 70 degrees in there with no wind, no rain. As a quarterback, you like that. Now, for our running game, we probably like the slop and the mud we had last week and you like to grind it out a little bit better. But I think we'll be able to adapt to what we're playing on."

As a P.S., Roethlisberger said he'll play inside Sunday with a glove on his throwing hand.


Left tackle Marvel Smith (ankle) and rookie linebacker Andre Frazier (hamstring) are the only Steelers listed as doubtful for Sunday's game. Roethlisberger told reporters that he believes Smith will return the following weekend to play at Cleveland.

Smith and Frazier missed practice Wednesday, as did DE Travis Kirschke (questionable/back), CB Deshea Townsend (questionable/neck), DE Brett Keisel (probable/shoulder), Bettis (probable/quadricep), Porter (probable/elbow) and WR Hines Ward (probable/ankle).

The Vikings practiced without starting strong-side linebacker Keith Newman (out/knee) and punter Chris Kluwe (questionable/knee).

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