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fordfixer
10-05-2009, 12:57 AM
Steelers' Mendenhall makes most of chance

By Scott Brown, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, October 5, 2009
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 46479.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_646479.html)



The Steelers gave running back Rashard Mendenhall the chance to redeem himself Sunday night. Wide receiver Limas Sweed didn't get the same opportunity.

Mendenhall, the Steelers' first round pick in 2008 started for the injured Willie Parker (toe) against the San Diego Chargers, and he wasted little time in taking advantage of the opportunity. Mendenhall scored his first two NFL touchdowns and had 80 yards rushing by halftime.

The running back got the start a week after the former Illinois star didn't play on offense against the Bengals because he didn't practice well leading up to the game.

If Mendenhall fell out of favor with Mike Tomlin prior to the Bengals game, Sweed didn't help his standing with the Steelers coach during it. He dropped a touchdown pass in the Steelers' 23-20 loss, and Tomlin responded by not dressing Sweed for last night's game. Shaun McDonald replaced Sweed, a second-round pick in 2008, as the Steelers' No. 4 wide receiver.

In addition to Parker, strong safety Troy Polamalu (knee) and tight end David Johnson (ankle) didn't play because of injuries. Also inactive for the Steelers were cornerback Keenan Lewis, guard Kraig Urbik, offensive tackle Tony Hills and quarterback Dennis Dixon.

The Steelers suited up a new fullback, but Carey Davis hardly had to introduce himself to his teammates after arriving last week in Pittsburgh. The Steelers signed Davis after they put rookie Frank Summers on the injured reserve list because of a back injury. Against the Chargers, Davis reprises the role he had held the previous two seasons, when he served as one of the Steelers' primary blocking backs.

"It's a great feeling to be back," said Davis, whom the Steelers released in early September when they set their 53-man roster. "It's great to be back in the black and gold."

Davis had been living in St. Louis when the Steelers called. His teammates were almost as happy as Davis that the Steelers called him.

"Carey's a locker room favorite," wide receiver Hines Ward said. "He's one of those guys you can really rely on and depend on."

Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, returned to the starting lineup after missing the previous two games because of an ankle injury. Center Nick Hardwick didn't play because of a leg injury. Joining him on the Chargers' inactive list were safeties Kevin Ellison and C.J. Spillman, guard Tyronne Green, wide receiver Buster Davis, linebacker Antwan Applewhite, defensive lineman Travis Johnson and quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.

Starting free safety Ryan Clark left the game late in the first quarter with an injury, but he returned in the second quarter.

The Steelers converted on their first four third-down attempts.

DIGITS

6:56 Edge the Steelers had in time of possession over the Chargers in the first quarter.

166 Consecutive regular-season games in which Ward has caught at least one pass.

Shoe
10-06-2009, 01:29 AM
I tell you what: if he doesn't take this job right now, he has no one to blame but himself. After the game he had last week, he needs to follow it up with another BIG day against what has been a (historic-level) bad run defense in Detroit. That's all there is to it.

If he gets the start, he needs to put another solid hundo on the board.

proudpittsburgher
10-06-2009, 10:02 AM
I tell you what: if he doesn't take this job right now, he has no one to blame but himself. After the game he had last week, he needs to follow it up with another BIG day against what has been a (historic-level) bad run defense in Detroit. That's all there is to it.

If he gets the start, he needs to put another solid hundo on the board.

I don't know about that, but we'll see. Detroit hasn't been all that bad against the run this season. They held Clinton Portis to under 50, Adrian Peterson to under 100, and almost 100 of Matt Forte's 124 yards came on two carries. Mike Bell torched them in week 1, but that was the week Brees went for almost 500 yards on them, so I don't know how much of that was being forced to overcompensate for the pass. I get the feeling that Ben will have to open up some of those holes through the passing game, which I am pretty confident he will do.