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Sunday, December 17, 2006

It's all about Chidi

At the beginning of this season, the Steelers’ coaching staff made a choice of keeping tight end Tim Euhus over cornerback Chidi Iwuoma, one of their best special teams players.

Iwuoma was brought back last week because of injuries in the secondary. Euhus was released back in September.

All Iwuoma did Sunday was make a great open-field tackle on Carolina’s first punt return Sunday and finished the game with two special teams tackles. Couldn’t have used that all season, huh?

Then again, Iwuoma did injure his arm during the game and had it in a sling in the locker room. He’s not the biggest guy and had gotten banged up in the past few seasons.

But he sure does give his all on special teams.

© Speaking of special teams, James Harrison said his punt block Sunday came from film study.

“He did what I saw him do on film, which was try to just give me a one-handed block before releasing,” said Harrison, giving me a shove with his arm to demonstrate how Kortez Hankton liked to block. “I knew I’d have an opportunity to block one today.”

I was just glad Harrison was in a good mood.

Shame on Carolina, however, for trying to block Harrison with Hankton, a wide receiver.

© Anthony Smith’s one-handed interception in the fourth quarter was a thing of beauty. His high-stepping to the sidelines during a live play was not and drew the ire of both head coach Bill Cowher and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, who I’ve never seen that angry.

“I didn’t appreciate his gesture,” Cowher said. “We don’t do that around here. He understood that. You won’t ever see that again.”

Smith is a keeper and also had some big hits in the game. He also learned an important rookie lesson early in the third quarter when he got run over by running back DeShaun Foster when Foster caught Smith flat-footed.

© Chad Brown’s season – and career – are likely over. Brown suffered a serious knee injury Sunday. It’s too bad a classy vet like Brown has to have his career end that way.

© Was it just me or did Cedrick Wilson look like a shortstop firing the ball to first base from deep in the hole on his end around pass?

Wilson threw the pass so hard he knocked Hines Ward over with it.

© Speaking of Wilson, he's officially lost his starting job to Santonio Holmes. Holmes played an inspired game and was about six inches from scoring three touchdowns Sunday.

He also made a twisting conversion of a third-down pass to get to pick up a first down. This kid's a keeper.

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