Pittsburgh Steelers

Stadium: Heinz Field | Coach: Mike Tomlin
Team RankingOverallRushingPassing
Offense2nd109.5 (16th)301.6 (2nd)
Defense18th100.3 (6th)253.1 (27th)

Steelers report: Strategy and personnel

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

The Steelers placed starting left OT Max Starks (neck) on injured reserve. They added rookie OT Chris Scott from the PUP list on the final day he was eligible to come off. Scott practiced the past three weeks and the Steelers had to decide by Wednesday whether to put him on the 53-man roster, release him or keep him on PUP for the rest of the season.

PLAYER NOTES

--LB LaMarr Woodley had his first two-sack game of the season and 13th in his four-year career, including the playoffs.

--WR Mike Wallace continues to lead the NFL in average yards per catch for the second straight year. He has a 23.0 average on 22 receptions. Last season, he averaged 19.4.

--LB Lawrence Timmons holds the team lead with 87 tackles, is tied for the team lead with two interceptions, has a forced fumble, fumble recovery and has two sacks.

--LB Jason Worilds has been a rookie demon on special teams. He leads the kicking game with 10 tackles and recovered a fumble Sunday on the opening kickoff that led to a TD.

--QB Ben Roethlisberger has the second-best winning percentage of all active NFL quarterbacks at .700 (63-27). No. 1 is his opponent this week, Tom Brady at .763 (103-32).

GAME PLAN
The Steelers hope to tighten up their pass defense against Tom Brady because they have not done so well in that area. They rank 24th in the league against the pass, partly because teams just cannot run against their No. 1 run defense. On offense, they would like to run it better but that's been a problem for them. They expect the Patriots to try to flood their new left tackle and a tight end likely will line up on that side more often because of it.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Steelers rookie C Maurkice Pouncey, their best offensive lineman, vs. Pro Bowl NT Vince Wilfork.

Steelers LT Jonathan Scott, getting his second start, vs. DE Mike Wright and OLB Tully Banta-Cain, who had three sacks when Scott started at left tackle for Buffalo last December.

Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall, who has seven rushing TDs, vs. Patriots run defense, which has allowed seven rushing TDs total.

INJURY IMPACT
Starting LT Max Starks (neck) was placed on IR. Jonathan Scott will start in his place. Starting G Chris Kemoeatu has a sprained MCL and if he cannot play, Ramon Foster will start. DE Brett Keisel (hamstring) left Sunday's game after missing the previous two and did not practice Wednesday. Nick Eason would start in his place. RBs Mewelde Moore and Isaac Redman, who left Sunday's game with concussions, returned to practice Wednesday. TE Heath Miller (knee) did not practice Wednesday but is expected to play.

Copyright (C) 2010 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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