Pittsburgh Steelers

Stadium: Heinz Field | Coach: Mike Tomlin
Team RankingOverallRushingPassing
Offense19th86.4 (26th)251.1 (10th)
Defense13th115.6 (18th)221.6 (10th)

Steelers report: Strategy and personnel

The Sports Xchange
 
Strategy and personnel · Notes, quotes · Inside slant
 

PLAYER NOTES

--FS Ryan Clark will not play at Denver because of the reaction his system had when he played there two years ago. Clark has a sickle-cell trait acerbated by high altitude. After the game in 2007, he had to have his spleen and gall bladder removed and became so ill he lost 30 pounds while missing the rest of the season.

--RB Willie Parker said he might abandon the special Nike shoes made for him after he suffered turf toe. He believes the toe has healed enough to do that.

--QB Ben Roethlisberger needs one more passer rating of 100 to give him more than Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw. Each recorded 31 games of at least 100.

--RB Rashard Mendenhall has shown a good ability to catch passes, something Willie Parker never did. He's caught eight and could take some catches from third-down back Mewelde Moore.

--WR Hines Ward has never had a 100-yard receiving game in Denver. His best came in 2003 when he caught eight passes for 81 yards.

--LB Keyaron Fox, a special-teams co-captain, remains their leader on the field with 12 tackles. He will make his third start at inside linebacker if Lawrence Timmons does not go.

GAME PLAN
The Steelers would like to run the ball in Denver and keep the Broncos' pass rush at bay and Rashard Mendenhall has done well in his four starts and averages 5.4 yards per carry. On defense, they always try to stop the run first and will do that, and try to tighten up the middle of their defense against the Broncos patient dink-and-dunk passing attack; that will be more difficult for them if either or both LB Lawrence Timmons and FS Ryan Clark do not play.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Steelers LOLB LaMarr Woodley vs. Broncos RT Tyler Polumbus. Woodley has only two sacks this season but goes against backup making his first start.

--Steelers LT Max Starks vs. Broncos ROLB Elvis Dumervil. Dumervil, who has 10 sacks, is only 5-foot-11; Starks is 6-8.

INJURY IMPACT

--LB Lawrence Timmons has not practiced this week because of a sprained right ankle. He said his chances of playing in Denver are "day to day."

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