Steelers safety returns to scene of OT wild-card loss to Denver
The moment Ryan Mundy cheated up on the line of scrimmage, then bit on Tim Tebow's inartistic play fake, the Steelers' Super Bowl aspirations faded amid a trail of orange confetti on a stunning night in Denver.
Mundy insists he has put that AFC wild-card loss behind him. Yet, it's difficult to erase the frames on the film with Demaryius Thomas pulling away from Mundy and cornerback Ike Taylor on the first snap of overtime for an 80-yard touchdown in the 29-23 loss.
Admittedly, it still stings Mundy to rewind a play that has become a part of Broncos' lore. So, the Steelers' regular-season opener in Denver on Sept. 9 is more than a rematch.
For Mundy, it's about redemption. It's about moving on, too.
Again, Mundy will likely replace starting safety Ryan Clark, as he did in the playoff game in January. Clark, who earned his first Pro Bowl selection last season, will probably sit because the high altitude adversely affects his sickle-cell trait.
Clark said the coaching staff has yet to address the issue of a lineup change.
“There's nothing to talk about because it's coach Tomlin's decision,” Clark said. “Nothing has changed about my condition. Nothing has changed as far as the doctors are concerned, whether I can play or not.
“It's up to coach Tomlin. I honestly don't see his opinion changing for the first regular-season game as opposed to a playoff game.
“When you think about it, (Mundy) plays all the time,” Clark added. “He's like the third starter in our group. We don't miss a beat. We do the same things and call the same plays.”
Mundy has been preparing as if he will start. And the Woodland Hills product played considerable minutes during the Steelers' 17-16 win over Carolina on Thursday in the final tune-up for the Broncos.
The fifth-year safety had a team-high five tackles, with his only blemish being a holding penalty that wiped out a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown by Chris Rainey. Mundy held his own against the Panthers – albeit with Cam Newton sitting out. Mundy knows he will need to be sharper when the Steelers face Peyton Manning.
“We'll cross that bridge when we approach it,” Mundy said. “I'm comfortable having to play, because I know the defense inside and out. Now, it's just a matter of performing when I get out there.”
There were times during their playoff defeat that Mundy and Troy Polamalu appeared out of sync. That could be a concern for defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, but Polamalu expects a better result this time around.
“I haven't gotten any reps with anybody other than Ryan,” Polamalu said. “It'll be interesting, because we've been together for a long time.”
Ralph N. Paulk is staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7923
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- For Steelers, a fight to finish for playoff berth
- Play of nose tackles could have impact on Steelers’ stretch run
- Rossi: As Blount walked, Porter called
- Cut by Steelers, LeGarrette Blount joins Patriots
- Steelers’ Wheaton embraces expanding role
- Steelers notebook: Heinz Field not in play for Bills-Jets
- Steelers cut ties with running back Blount after incident in Tennessee
- Steelers notebook: Gay, secondary brace for Saints QB Brees
- Steelers’ Mitchell banned from social media
- Rossi: Book on Steelers coach Tomlin is still open
- Steelers rally past Titans for key win