Steelers notebook: Defense strong even without Harrison, Polamalu

Ralph N. Paulk
| Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, 3:44 p.m.

Linebacker James Harrison and safety Troy Polamalu were among the Steelers' inactives for Sunday's 27-10 victory against the New York Jets.

Harrison has yet to play this season after having his second left knee surgery last month, and Polamalu was held out with a right calf injury.

“Obviously James and I have played together for a long time, but I get 100 percent of the enjoyment of the victory but 0 percent of the success,” Polamalu said.

Polamalu said the Steelers won the battle of attrition even with he and Harrison sitting. “As the game progressed, our running game wore them down, and we were able to control the clock,” he said.

• It didn't matter that he was flagged for two pass interference and holding penalties: Cornerback Ike Taylor wasn't letting up on former Steelers receiver Santonio Holmes. He didn't retreat even after Holmes beat him on a slant route for a 14-yard touchdown to give New York a 7-3 lead in the first quarter. Taylor swatted the ball away from Holmes on a third-down pass midway through the third quarter with the Jets trailing, 20-10. Then he stripped Holmes of the ball on third down early in the fourth. “We just settled down and did what we had to do,” said Taylor, who didn't record a tackle but helped check Holmes to three receptions for 28 yards.

• Without Harrison, the Steelers struggled to lay a hand on Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. Finally in the third quarter, the Steelers blitzed both outside linebackers — LaMarr Woodley and Chris Carter. Woodley ran around tackle Austin Howard to record the sack. Also, defensive end Cam Heyward got his second career sack.

• The Steelers spent time in the film room breaking down the Jets' wildcat offense, which features backup quarterback Tim Tebow. Instead, the Jets fed them a steady diet of running backs Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell. Tebow didn't take a snap in the first half but caught the Steelers napping early in the third quarter when he split linebackers Larry Foote and Lawrence Timmons for 22 yards.

• Wide receiver Mike Wallace has two touchdowns in the first two games, but he's convinced his numbers would be better if he had showed up for training camp. “I think I'm moving in the right direction and I'm helping my team,” said Wallace, who had five catches for 74 yards, including a 37-yard scoring grab.

— Ralph N. Paulk

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