STEELERS at PATRIOTS SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2008 KICKOFF -- 4:15 P.M. POST-GAME NOTES
• Pittsburgh improved to 9-3 on the season and 5-1 on the road.
• The Steelers improved to 13-8 all-time against the Patriots in the regular season, snapping a two-game losing streak. Pittsburgh is now 4-2 all-time in the regular season in New England.
• The Steelers' victory was their first on the road against the Patriots since a 24-21 win in overtime in 1997.
• Pittsburgh improved to 8-1 against the AFC this season.
• The Steelers are 51-24-1 (.678) in the final two months of the regular season since 2000, which is the second-best record in such games in the NFL.
• New England scored first as LB Mike Vrabel picked off a QB Ben Roethlisbergerpass on the first series of the game, setting up a two-yard touchdown run by RB Sammy Morris 45 seconds later.
• Pittsburgh trimmed the lead to 7-3 with 2:51 left in the first quarter as K Jeff Reedbooted a 20-yard field goal. Reed is now 19-for-20 in field goal attempts on the year.
• K Stephen Gostkowski booted a 29-yard field goal in the second quarter to stretch the lead to 10-3.
• At the 1:55 mark of the first half, Roethlisberger redeemed his earlier interception by finding WR Santonio Holmesfor a 19-yard touchdown pass. It was Holmes' third touchdown of the season.
• New England had a chance to take back the lead late in first half but Gostkowski missed a 27-yard field goal wide right with less than 20 seconds remaining.
• Pittsburgh took its first lead of the game as Reed booted a 25-yard field goal with 5:39 left in the third quarter that capped a 14-play, 79-yard drive.
• On the ensuing kickoff, New England fumbled the kickoff and LB Keyaron Fox picked up the ball at the eight-yard line. Two plays later, Roethlisberger hit WR Hines Wardfor an 11-yard touchdown to give Pittsburgh a 20-10 advantage with just over five minutes left in the third. It was Ward's team-leading sixth touchdown reception of the season.
• LB James Harrisonposted his team-best 13th sack of the year and forced a QB Matt Cassel fumble on the next drive, which led to a 20-yard field goal by Reed and a 23-10 Steelers' lead with 2:50 left in the third quarter.
• The Steelers led 23-10 at the end of the third quarter and outscored the Patriots 13-0 in the quarter. For the year, Pittsburgh has outscored its opponents 77-9 in the third quarter.
• Following the Steelers' fourth takeaway in a row from the Patriots, this one an interception by S Troy Polamalu(career high sixth of the season), Pittsburgh marched to the New England 27-yard line before Reed booted a 45-yard field goal with under six minutes remaining in the game to make it 26-10.
• For the fifth straight possession, Pittsburgh forced a turnover as LB Lawrence Timmonspicked off a Cassel pass and returned it 89 yards to the one-yard line. Two plays later, RB Gary Russellscored his second touchdown of the season to cap the scoring at 33-10.
• The Steelers outgained the Patriots, 333-267, in total offense. Pittsburgh limited the Patriots to 81 yards in the second half.
• Pittsburgh converted 8-of-16 (50%) third-down attempts while the Patriots were a dismal 1-of-13 (8%) on third downs, including 0-for-7 in the first half.
• Pittsburgh has not allowed an opponent to gain 300 yards in a game this season, marking 12 straight games to open the 2008 campaign. It marks the second-longest (tied) streak in the NFL since 1970 with the San Francisco 49ers (1997). The longest streak was set by the L.A. Rams at 14 games in 1973.
• Pittsburgh controlled the ball for 35:05 to the Patriots 24:55.
• Pittsburgh had five sacks in the game, including two by Harrison, one by LB LaMarr Woodley, one by DT Casey Hamptonand a half-sack each by LB James Farriorand DE Aaron Smith.
• The Steelers had five takeaways, three fumbles and two interceptions.
• QB Dennis Dixon (3rd QB), CB Bryant McFadden, CB Fernando Bryant, RB Najeh Davenport, LB Bruce Davis, OT Tony Hills,OT Marvel Smithand DE Brett Keisel were inactive.
QB Ben Roethlisberger
• Finished 17-of-33 for 179 yards with two touchdowns and one interception (75.2 passer rating).
• Hit WR Santonio Holmes for a 19-yard touchdown pass late in the first half.
• Tossed an 11-yard touchdown pass to WR Hines Ward in the third quarter that gave Pittsburgh a 20-10 lead.
• Improved to 48-19 (.716) as a starting quarterback. His 48 wins are tied for the most in NFL history by a starting quarterback in his first five seasons in the league (since 1950) with Otto Graham, Dan Marino and Tom Brady.
RB Willie Parker
• Finished with a game-high 87 yards on 16 carries (5.4 avg.), including a long of 31 yards.
RB Mewelde Moore
• Split time with Parker and finished with 12 carries for 67 yards (5.6 avg.).
• Caught two passes for nine yards.
RB Gary Russell
• Had three rushes for one yard and scored his second touchdown of the season.
• Returned one kickoff for 31 yards.
WR Hines Ward
• Finished with five catches for 37 yards (7.4 avg.) with one touchdown.
• Had an 11-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, giving him a team-best six on the year.
• Has now caught a pass in a team-record 158 consecutive games.
WR Santonio Holmes
• Hauled in a 19-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger in the second quarter, his third of the season.
• Had a season-long 29-yard punt return in the first quarter.
• Finished with two catches for 28 yards (14.0 avg.).
WR Nate Washington
• Had three catches for 41 yards (13.7 avg.), including a 16-yarder.
TE Heath Miller
• Posted four catches for a team-high 60 yards (15.0 avg.), including a 21-yarder.
OT Max Starks
• Made his seventh straight start in place of the injured OT Marvel Smith.
DT Casey Hampton
• Posted a six-yard sack in the third quarter, his first of the season.
DE Aaron Smith
• Posted a half-sack (along with LB James Farrior) in the first quarter, giving him 4.5 sacks on the year.
• Finished with five tackles (three solo).
LB James Farrior
• Posted a half-sack (along with DE Aaron Smith) in the first quarter, giving him 2.5 on the year.
• Had his first fumble recovery of the year.
• Finished with seven tackles (four solo).
LB James Harrison
• Posted a three-yard sack and forced a fumble in the third quarter.
• Had a seven-yard sack and a second forced fumble late in the third quarter, giving him a career-best 14 sacks on the year and sixth forced fumble of the year.
• Combined with Woodley, the duo has 25.5 sacks on the year which breaks the team's single-season record for top sack duos (since 1982).
• Finished with a team-high nine tackles (seven solo) with two sacks, two forced fumbles and one QB hurry.
• Team improved to 13-6 when Harrison has posted a sack.
LB LaMarr Woodley
• Had one sack in the fourth quarter, giving him a career-best 11.5 on the year.
• Has posted at least one sack in eight of the 11 games he has started and the Steelers are 9-2 in those contests.
• Recovered his team-leading fourth fumble of the season.
• Combined with Harrison, the duo has 25.5 sacks on the year which breaks the team's single-season record for top sack duos (since 1982).
• Finished with five tackles (four solo).
LB Lawrence Timmons
• Posted his first career interception and returned it 89 yards in the fourth quarter, setting up the Steelers' final touchdown of the game.
• Finished with five tackles (three solo).
*S Ryan Clark
• Had six tackles (four solo).
S Troy Polamalu
• Tallied his career-best sixth interception of the season and returned it 23 yards in the fourth quarter.
• Finished with five tackles (three solo) with four passes defensed.
CB William Gay
• Made his third career start and finished with four tackles (all solo).
K Jeff Reed
• Finished 3-for-3 in PATs and 4-for-5 in FG attempts for 15 points.
• Booted a 20-yard field goal in the first quarter.
• Added a 25-yard and a 20-yard field goal in the third quarter.
• Booted a 45-yarder in the fourth quarter.
• Stretched his string to 18 straight made field goals on the road before missing a 40-yarder in the fourth quarter.
• Became just the third player in team history to reach 700 career points as he now has 709 points, joining Gary Anderson (1,343 points) and Roy Gerela (731).