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Monday, October 09, 2006

Injury updates and more

The Steelers suffered three serious injuries in this one, two that were reported during the game and one that didn’t show up until well after.

Linebacker James Harrison’s left ankle sprain looks to be the most serious. He was in an air cast and on crutches following the game and could be lost for several weeks.

Wide receiver Willie Reid suffered a mid-foot sprain, but was only on crutches and will probably only miss a week or two.

Defensive end Brett Keisel suffered what is believed to be a bruised kidney. He was taken to a San Diego hospital for X-rays after complaining of pain in his side when the team arrived at the airport.

Keisel appeared to be OK, however, upon his return, though the team erred on the side of caution following Tampa Bay’s Chris Simms’ lacerated spleen during a game two weeks ago.

© That ill-fated fourth-down end around to Bryant McFadden in the first quarter needs to be sent back to the drawing board.

First of all, when you split punter Chris Gardocki out wide, you’re tipping your hand that there won’t be a punt. Secondly, why have McFadden running with the ball instead of, say, Reid or Santonio Holmes? Find somebody on the team who’s used to making guys miss with the ball in his hands.

McFadden told me after the game that play was one the team had been working on for several weeks and that it was used because of the down and distance, not because of something they had seen with the Chargers. That’s all the more reason it shouldn’t have been used.

The other trick play the team ran, a flea-flicker to Holmes, didn’t fool anybody on the San Diego sidelines either, as Holmes was double covered.

That play was one of the few poor decisions Roethlisberger made, throwing the ball despite the double coverage. The Steelers were moving the ball on San Diego to that point, but his interception there by Drayton Florence at the Chargers’ 6, and the subsequent 94-yard TD drive that followed, really turned the momentum.

© Jamal Williams pretty much had his way with Steelers center Jeff Hartings much the same way Casey Hampton did with Chargers center Nick Hardwick.

That was a big reason why neither team’s running game produced much.

Oh, I know that San Diego finished with 119 yards rushing, but LaDanian Tomlinson managed just 36 of that, with much of the damage coming on a late 23-yard run by Michael Turner and a 15-yard scamper by Philip Rivers late in the game.

© Roethlisberger said he wanted to show the Chargers that they erred in taking Rivers instead of him in the first round of the 2004 draft.

They didn’t.

Rivers fits what the Chargers do more than Roethlisberger would have. Then again, the Chargers’ coaching staff has done a good job of accentuating the things that Rivers does well. He’s very accurate on his short and mid-range passes.

© Najeh Davenport, nice to see you.

© Willie Parker averaged a healthy 4.1 yards per carry against one of the NFL’s top run defenses. The problem was that he only got 14 carries, just four of which came in the second half.

In fact, the Steelers ran just 18 plays in the second half as the defense was unable to keep San Diego from scoring on four consecutive drives.

© Cedrick Wilson was relegated to being the fourth receiver on several occasions, slipping behind Nate Washington and Santonio Holmes in some three-receiver sets.

© The surreal moment of the night came not during the game, but after it.

After filing my stories for my newspaper, I went with another reporter to get on the elevator and head down to the locker rooms. A security guard stopped us saying, “We’re holding the elevator for Mr. Madden.”

I explained in less-than-pleasant terms that we were on deadline and needed to get quotes to call back to our papers, while “Mr. Madden’s” work was finished for the evening.

Just then, another security guard came out and said that “Mr. Madden” was running late and they could send the elevator down again.

We got on and went down one floor where the elevator stopped, allowing Dan and Art Rooney and Dean Spanos to get on.

What kind of world do we live in when some TV schlub can hold up an elevator for himself, but the owners of the teams can climb aboard one with us common folk?

The people who voted for Madden for the Pro Football Hall of Fame should be ashamed.

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