Snapshot: Steelers-Eagles

WEEK THREE: Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 ET
GAMEDATE: 9/21/08
TV: CBS (Jim Nantz, Phil Simms)
SERIES: 76th meeting. Eagles lead the series 46-26-3, including a 25-8-2 record in Philadelphia, where the Steelers have not won since 1965. They've lost their past seven games in Philly. The Steelers, however, knocked the Eagles from the unbeaten ranks when they last met in Nov. 2004 in Heinz Field, a 27-3 Pittsburgh victory.

PREDICTION: Eagles 20-19

The Steelers were expected to lighten RB Willie Parker's load after drafting Rashard Mendenhall, but Parker leads the NFL with 53 carries. He can expect another heavy workload with QB Ben Roethlisberger dealing with a sore shoulder. However, Roethlisberger didn't seem to lack any zip on his passes last Sunday, and he'll need to do his part in the passing game. While the Eagles limited Cowboys RB Marion Barber to 63 rushing yards, they also failed to generate much pressure when rushing just their front four. ... With defenses forced to pay more attention to speedy rookie WR DeSean Jackson, life should get a little easier for RB Brian Westbrook. Westbrook's versatility could take some of the bite out of the pass rush of the Steelers' outside linebackers. Also look for the Eagles to test the left side, where LT Tra Thomas will be working against Steelers DEs Travis Kirschke, Orpheus Roye and Nick Eason filling in for injured Brett Keisel.


Keisel (calf) will miss up to two months; CB Deshea Townsend (heel) is uncertain.

OG Shawn Andrews (back spasms) and WR Reggie Brown (hamstring) could be game-time decisions.

FAST FACTS: Jackson joined former Eagle Don Looney as the only rookies in NFL history with consecutive 100-yard receiving games to open their careers. ... The Steelers are 13-2 in their past 15 games against the NFC.


--QB Ben Roethlisberger went through another practice on Thursday and his sore right shoulder seems fine. He played against Cleveland with the injury.
--CB Deshea Townsend (bruised heel) did not practice again on Thursday. He still could play, however. He missed last Sunday's game and coach Mike Tomlin thought he would be ready this week.
--LB James Farrior was fined $7,500 by the league for an obscene gesture he gave the Dawg Pound fans in Cleveland last Sunday. Farrior, the Steelers' defensive captain, practiced on Thursday after missing Wednesday with a slight back problem.
--WR Hines Ward has virtually every Steelers receiving record. He even has the most rushing yards by a receiver. He also extended his team record to 148 consecutive games with a reception on Sunday.
--LB Lawrence Timmons still has not cracked the starting lineup in his second season since the Steelers drafted him first in 2007. But he could start Sunday, and at the least will play a lot because he plays in the nickel and that defense will be used often against the Eagles.

--RG Shawn Andrews, who missed the second half of last week's game with back spasms, wasn't able to practice Thursday. There's a good possibility he won't play Sunday against the Steelers.
--G Max Jean-Gilles may get his first start of the season Sunday in place of injured RG Shawn Andrews. Jean-Gilles played the second half of Monday night's loss to the Cowboys after Andrews left the game with back spasms.
--WR Reggie Brown practiced fully for the second straight day and is expected to play Sunday. Brown missed the first two games of the season with a hamstring injury.
--C Jamaal Jackson didn't practice for the second straight day. His absence is non-injury-related, though the team won't disclose the exact reason for his absence.
--FB Tony Hunt, who tweaked his hamstring late in Monday night's loss to the Cowboys, participated fully in practice Thursday and is expected to play Sunday against Pittsburgh. Hunt is the only fullback on the roster.


NFL statisticians officially removed one of Ben Roethlisberger's sacks in Cleveland, but it does not cause him any less pain.

Roethlisberger has been sacked four times officially and not five (they ruled a pass he had thrown that was batted back to him actually was a completion to himself for minus-seven yards).

He has a slightly separated shoulder from a sack by Mario Williams of Houston in the opener, when he also had a slightly hyperextended knee after he was hit low by defensive tackle Amobi Okoye.

There was no flag tossed on Okoye, even though hitting quarterbacks low supposedly is a penalty. And there was no flag when Roethlisberger was hit after he threw a pass in Cleveland by 350-pound nose tackle Shaun Rogers, coincidentally on the quarterback's ailing right shoulder.

That has incensed some teammates, who vow they will take care of any future such instances.

"A lot of us as a line feel we have to protect him a little more outside the whistle," tackle Willie Colon said. "Guys are going to take shots at him and try to knock him down. He makes us run, so if we see stuff like that we have to kind of be there and get after guys who try to do stuff like that. I'm going to be looking for it, especially this Sunday."

Colon and guard Kendall Simmons thought the Rogers hit was cheap and they wonder why the officials aren't doing something about such hits. "I saw that, now that was very late," Simmons said of Rogers' hit.

"How can you not see Shaun Rogers make a hit like that?" Colon said. "Especially before the game when Andra Davis was saying he'll take the fine?"

Davis, Cleveland's middle linebacker, said last week that the Browns needed to get after Roethlisberger and not worry about late hits and subsequent fines.

"You hear remarks like that, you kind of take it personally," Colon said. "I know I do. We just have to be able to keep him as clean as possible and make sure there's nothing really dirty going on."

Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said he hopes to get defensive end Chris Clemons on the field more Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Clemons, a pass-rushing specialist who had 8 1/2 sacks last year for Oakland, was signed in the offseason to beef up the Eagles' pass rush. But he missed the entire preseason with a calf injury, played just nine snaps in Week 1 and only four in last week's 41-37 Monday night loss to the Cowboys.

The Eagles had four sacks in their 38-3 Week 1 win over St. Louis, but didn't have any last week. Their defensive ends have just half a sack in two games.

"Chris definitely will play more this week," said Johnson. "We probably should have had him on the field more (against Dallas), but we didn't get in nickel situations as much in the second half. It was mostly first- and second-down play-action passes that got us."

With plenty of time to throw, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles.

"We all want more pressure," Johnson said. "No question about it. We have to do a better job. We're getting effort, but we just didn't have great pressure Monday night, simple as that."

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