By Teresa Varley
All season long James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley have been racking up the sacks, trying to outdo one another for the team lead.
On Sunday in New England, it wasn't each other they outdid but instead some pretty good linebacker tandems that played for the Steelers before them.
Harrison and Woodley have combined for 25 ½ sacks so far this season, surpassing Greg Lloyd and Kevin Greene in 1994 and Jason Gildon and Joey Porter in 2000 when those tandems combined for 24 sacks for the season.
And the number could grow as the Steelers still have four games left.
"It feels real good, but that's not the end of it," said Harrison of setting the record. "We're trying to raise that total to 30-plus."
Harrison currently has 14 sacks after recording two against the Patriots and Woodley has 11 ½ sacks. Mike Merriweather holds the team record with 15 sacks in 1987.
"He is great," said cornerback Deshea Townsend of Harrison. "He is one of those guys that is a true professional and has worked his way to being a great player. If he keeps doing that, the sky is the limit. This year is just a true testament of what he did last year was not a fluke."
The Steelers ground game combined for 161 yards, with Willie Parker rushing for 87 yards and Mewelde Moore adding 67 yards.
It was that combination that wore down the Patriots defense and helped the Steelers maintain more than a 10-minute advantage in time of possession.
"That was the plan. We were going to use both guys," said head coach Mike Tomlin. "I think everybody knows what Willie is capable of and of course Mewelde continues to prove that he's a valuable asset to us. It was our plan to use both guys and it ended up working pretty well."
Parker started the game after missing part of the Bengals game when he aggravated his knee injury.
"Both of them did a great job," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "There was one point of the game where Mewelde kind of had a hot hand, we had him in there for the no huddle, he caught a bunch of check downs, had a couple of great runs. And then we brought Willie in at the end and he kind of finished the deal. It was good to see them both out there."