Steelers have no problem with WR hit

| Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he didn't have a problem with the hit that knocked Santonio Holmes out of Thursday night's game with a concussion.

Cincinnati Bengals safety Chris Crocker drilled Holmes after the Steelers' wide receiver caught a 6-yard pass from Roethlisberger on a slant pattern. Holmes held onto the ball but staggered after getting up, and the Steelers held him out of the rest of the game.

"I don't think it was dirty," Roethlisberger said after the Steelers' 27-10 win. "It was a good, solid hit. I told (my teammates) not to retaliate on him."

There had been a question heading into the game as to whether the Bengals would retaliate for a Hines Ward hit last month that broke Keith Rivers' jaw and ended the rookie linebacker's season.

Crocker's third-quarter hit on Holmes will be reviewed by the NFL and could lead to a fine, but Ward said it was "clean."

"That's just the violence of the game," Ward said. "The guy read it right and made a huge hit on Santonio."

Holmes, who caught five passes for 84 yards against the Bengals, is expected to be OK for the Steelers' Nov. 30 game against the New England Patriots.

Walking wounded

The Steelers are hoping to get good news following a long weekend about two other key players who left Thursday night's game with injuries.

Coach Mike Tomlin said he thought Willie Parker just "tweaked" his knee, which caused the running back to leave the game in the third quarter. The concern is that Parker missed four games earlier this season because of a sprained medial collateral ligament in the same knee.

More worrisome may be the knee injury that knocked starting defensive end Brett Keisel out of the game.

"When somebody is on the ground and they are checking out their knee, that is not a good thing," Tomlin said. "We will see where he is when we get a chance to test it."

The players were off Friday and don't have to return to the team's South Side facility until Tuesday.

"We kind of need the rest to get our legs back underneath us," defensive end Aaron Smith said.

Miller time

The sprained ankle that sidelined Heath Miller for two games didn't hamper the tight end Thursday night.

Miller caught four passes for 44 yards and a touchdown.

"It felt good," Miller said of the right ankle he sprained in the Steelers' 23-6 win over the Washington Redskins on Nov. 3. "As far as I'm concerned, it's a thing of the past, and I'm moving forward."

Beating the rush

The Bengals used short drops by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and a quick passing attack to slow down the Steelers' rush.

They also may have provided a blueprint for opposing teams since the Steelers sacked Fitzpatrick just once Thursday night after dropping him seven times when the AFC North rivals met Oct. 19.

"I didn't like that too much," outside linebacker James Harrison said of Cincinnati's strategy. "I'm sure we're going to see that (again). That's the way to combat the rush."

What could have been

The Steelers are 8-3 and will be at least a game ahead of the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North after this week.

Strong safety Troy Polamalu, however, couldn't help but wonder where the Steelers might be had they not lost tough games to the New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts.

"We feel like we should have been better at this time," said Polamalu who's tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with five.

But normally reserved Polamalu seemed excited about where the Steelers are in another sense.

"People don't like to play against us because we play kind of ugly, rough, physical," Polamalu said. "It's just the personality of this city, the personality of this team. It's just so blue-collar. That New York, Los Angeles, Hollywood mentality is not within us, and we like that."

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