Steelers-Patriots Post-Game Notes

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STEELERS at PATRIOTS SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2008 KICKOFF -- 4:15 P.M.  POST-GAME NOTES

Team 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.
 
 
Individual Notes:
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).
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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).

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