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Muhsin Muhammad was eager to pick up the slack after Steve Smith was lost for the year to injury and he did exactly that in a contract year. Meanwhile, Jamal Lewis is perturbed at his role in the Ravens' offense and in Pittsburgh, it will be a day of rest.

Muhammad's Record Setting Pace Keeps Panthers In Hunt

With seven 100-yard receiving games in the last nine weeks, nobody has figured out a way to stop Panthers wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad, who is in the midst of the most productive season of any wide receiver in the Panthers' 10-year history.

On Sunday, Muhammad established new franchise records for receiving yards (1,310) and touchdown receptions (14).

Muhammad hauled in two more touchdown passes in the first half of Sunday's win against Tampa Bay, including an incredible one-handed, sideline toe-tapping catch in the first quarter.

"I had no idea I was that close to those records," Muhammad said. "After you get done with the season and look back at it you say, 'Man I accomplished a lot of things.' And I think I can say that.

"We still have another game to play and hopefully more than that. I don't want to start looking back and glancing over my shoulder too soon."

Muhammad, in his ninth NFL season, finished with eight receptions for 115 yards and two scores against the Bucs.

"I think I'm getting better and better," Muhammad said. "I feel healthy and blessed. I'm seeing the ball well, running good routes and making plays and that is what the game is all about."

Lewis Hot With Lack Of Offense

Ravens running back Jamal Lewis was held to 26 yards on 14 carries, a career low for him when he has double-digit attempts.

But Lewis criticized the play-calling rather than his blockers. He questioned why the Ravens strung out plays to the outside instead of running in between the tackles.

"We had some room, but it just wasn't where we were going," Lewis said. "A lot of guys know we run a lot of stretch runs, and they were keeping it contained outside with (linebackers) Joey Porter and James Harrison and forcing us back inside.

"We're a downhill team. Our offensive line fights and strives for blowing guys off the ball. That's where the tempo should have been set by running straight at them. I think we gave (inside linebackers) James Farrior and Larry Foote the day off. We didn't attack them."

Steelers To Sit In Meaningless Game

Wrapping up the No. 1 seed in the AFC gives coach Bill Cowher a chance to rest some injured players for the next two weeks, starting Sunday when the Steelers play a meaningless game for them in Buffalo.

"Whoever got some nicks and aches it gives us a couple of weeks to get those guys healthy so we can hit this playoff run the way we want to hit it," linebacker Joey Porter said.

Among those who likely will not play against Buffalo is rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is 13-0 as a starter this season. Roethlisberger's ribs were injured in the second half last Sunday against Baltimore and he left the game for the first time since he took over for injured Tommy Maddox in the third quarter of game two.

Also missing will be cornerback Deshea Townsend, who had three fingers on his right hand broken in the fourth quarter.

There are any number of other players Cowher could choose to rest this Sunday, including halfback Jerome Bettis and some defensive players. Wide receiver Hines Ward predicted Cowher will treat it like an exhibition game, playing his starters for a quarter or so. However, with a 45-man game-day roster, Cowher does not have the luxury of an 80-man preseason roster.

"We have to see," Cowher said. "You don't want to go up there and not play well. We are playing too well and to go up there and not win that football game ... But certainly we will keep the big picture in mind as relates to players playing."

Said wide receiver Plaxico Burress, "Guys like myself like to go out there and kind of stay on the floor a little bit. But at same time you have to be smart what you're doing."


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