Streak ends for Ward

Wide receiver Hines Ward had his streak of 186 consecutive games with a reception broken against the Patriots.

Ward had what appeared to be a five-yard reception in the closing seconds of the first quarter, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick challenged the call and it was ruled an incompletion.

Ward was hit on the play, sustaining what Coach Mike Tomlin called a concussion that kept him on the sidelines the remainder of the game and ended his streak. He wanted to return to the game, but NFL guidelines regarding treatment and protection regarding concussions, kept him out of the game.

"The guy just hit me. I got dinged, that's all it was," said Ward. "I have to take a concussion test which I will pass and I will be out there next week playing.

Ward's streak of 186 games is a team record and was the longest active streak in the NFL. The only two players in the NFL who have had longer streaks are Jerry Rice (274) and Marvin Harrison (190).

The Steelers lost to the Patriots in a manner they aren't accustomed to, with several players referring to it in a similar manner.

"It was a good old fashioned butt whooping," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "And you never like it when it's at home."

There is only one way to rebound from a game like that, to come out strong against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at Heinz Field.

"We did take a hit. No excuses," said cornerback Ike Taylor. "We have to come back and do what we need to do, feed off of this and make sure it doesn't happen again."

Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady threw for 350 yards and the Patriots added another 103 yards on the ground.

"For our defense, it hurts because we're not used to playing this way," said safety Ryan Clark. "We're not used to giving up yardage the way we did or giving up the scores in that manner. But you have to come back and continue to play. Yeah, we're (angry). We're upset. But we just have to come back to work the same that we did when we were winning."

The injury to Ward is the latest for the Steelers, who were without defensive ends Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith, and offensive guard Chris Kemoeatu against the Patriots. The Steelers were also missing tackle Max Starks, who was placed on injured reserve after the Bengals game.

One thing you won't hear, though, is players using injuries as an excuse for the loss to the Patriots. 

"That would be making an excuse and I'm not going to do that," said Roethlisberger. "Obviously, it hurts when you don't have guys out there. You're used to practicing with certain guys and then all of sudden you move guys around. But I do have to give a lot of credit to guys who came in and played their positions – Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Wallace moving around, Antwaan (Randle El). It is hard to find a positive from this, but nobody quit. All the way to the last play, nobody quit."

Steelers fans can lend a hand to those in need this holiday season by donating non-perishable groceries at the fifth annual Max Starks & His Hometown Team Thanksgiving Celebration on Tuesday, November 23 at Waterfront in Homestead Town Square.

Those who bring food donations will be eligible for a raffle ticket for a Steelers autographed football. Those who can't attend can donate to Max's Virtual Food Drive by visiting the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank website at

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