By Teresa Varley
Jeff Reed came through in the clutch for the Steelers on Monday Night against the Ravens and it didn't go unnoticed.
Reed was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance, which included three field goals, one of them a game-winner in overtime.
"You have kickers, punters and returners making big plays on special teams and to be singled out in the whole AFC is pretty awesome," said Reed.
It's even more meaningful for Reed to win the award after a performance that helped his team win such a pivotal game.
"There are times when you can have four or five field goals in a game and not even be looked at," said Reed. "When they show highlights sometimes they say the Steelers did this and the score pops up, but they just show one touchdown whether you had five field goals or not.
"On a stage like that, Monday night, when you win a game that way and everybody sees it it's great. I would like to kick a game-winner every week, but as long as we are winning games and I am doing my job that is what is important."
Reed is in his first season as the captain of the special teams and is making sure he is a leader on the field. He is seven-for-seven on field goals to date and has been strong on kickoffs as well.
"Making field goals and having good kickoffs and being consistent in what I do is a huge factor," said Reed. "At the same time keeping a positive attitude is important. Nobody is perfect. These guys have my back in case of a miss."
Ben Roethlisberger is getting a little extra help this week from someone who knows the Jaguars well – Byron Leftwich. Leftwich played for the Jaguars for four seasons and has been an asset to Roethlisberger.
"The whole first meeting I was talking to him about who he knows, what he knows and little tidbits about each guy," said Roethlisberger. "It's a big help to have him here."
Leftwich, though, believes that the Steelers have plenty of knowledge of the Jaguars with or without his input.
"I can't tell them anything that they don't already know," said Leftwich. "The Steelers and Jaguars have been playing each other every year. We all know what type of game it's going to be. It's no secret. Pittsburgh knows what Jacksonville is going to do and Jacksonville knows what Pittsburgh is going to do. It's who makes the most plays. That's what's going to determine who wins the football game."
When Kendall Simmons went down with a ruptured Achilles against the Ravens there is nobody that wanted to step in and help out more than Trai Essex.
But he wasn't able to.
Essex was inactive for the game while Darnell Stapleton was in uniform because he is a back up snapper. So when Simmons went down, Stapleton got the call.
"Any time I am inactive it is frustrating," said Essex. "It added to it because one of my buddies out there was lost for the season and there was nothing I could do to help."
Steelers fans always make a good showing in Jacksonville and it hasn't gone unnoticed by their players.
"Sometimes it is hard to tell if we are at a home game or an away game when you guys come to town," said Jaguars quarterback David Garrard of the Steelers fans. "There are a lot of towels waving in the air but I really expect our fans to definitely come out in droves for this game and be there to support us. You guys always have a great following; you have plenty of fans around the country and you guys have been around for a long time now. I'm sure your fans are going to come out just the same."