Sunday notebook: Woodley revved up

The Steelers lead the NFL in sacks, but the Giants have only given up six this season. Something will give this afternoon at Heinz Field.

PITTSBURGH – Eli Manning has only been sacked six times this season. That's just about what Steelers outside linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley get on a good day.

"They can't block neither one of us," said Woodley. "And if you do, then you've got the guys in the middle. We've got guys like Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton. If you key on guys like us, those guys can definitely get to the quarterback."

The Steelers lead the league in sacks and the Giants are third in fewest sacks allowed. Both teams have played easy schedules (Steelers .351; Giants .308), so this might be the first true test for either side.

"We think we can get to anybody," Woodley said. "You don't go into a game saying we can't get to a guy because he's only been sacked six times. He hasn't played a team like Pittsburgh. We bring a whole 'nother attitude to the game."

Woodley and Harrison are the league's top-sacking tandem with 16. They've combined for three sacks in four games, and four sacks in three games. The Steelers won all four of the games in question.

"Shoot, every week I think we're going to get five sacks," said inside linebacker Larry Foote. "But they're watching film. They'll try to stop those guys. But at some time in that game there's going to be one-on-one matchups, and hopefully we'll win."


With Bryant McFadden out for a minimum of two games, dime back William Gay moves up into the nickel. He could even move into the starting lineup if Deshea Townsend's injured heel doesn't respond to an increased workload.

Townsend says Gay's ready. What does Gay say?

"I've been ready all year," said Gay, a second-year player. "I've been waiting on my opportunity for a long time."

Gay was drafted in the fifth round in 2007 and immediately made his mark. He busted up another rookie, first-round pick Robert Meachem, in the Hall of Fame Game, where Gay also intercepted a pass. He saw spot duty in all 17 games last season and broke up two passes.

This season, he's been an outstanding punt gunner and sub-package player. He'll start as the nickel back this afternoon, but when he enters he'll cover the wide receivers and Townsend will cover the slot man. That will put the 5-10 Gay on the 6-5 Plaxico Burress at times.

"He's a big-time receiver, but I'm ready for the challenge," Gay said. "You know he's going to bring everything he has. We're going to get the best Plaxico Burress you ever saw. Last year I was a fan. He's a great receiver. But now the opportunity presents itself and I want to take advantage of the opportunity."


The Steelers released rookie linebacker Donovan Woods and activated rookie linebacker Patrick Bailey from the practice squad. Woods has five special-teams tackles and Bailey has three.


Linebacker Larry Foote on facing 264-pound Giants runner Brandon Jacobs:

"You've got to love contact, especially with a big back like that. But you don't have to worry about him juking you. If you miss on a little guy, you've got to worry about him breaking the long one. But with a big guy like that, you've got to run into that brick wall, and I will."

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