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Steelers notebook: Miller knee injury tops crowded report

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Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, 7:38 p.m.

Tight end Heath Miller suffered a PCL and MCL injury to his right knee, according to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, and isn't expected to play in the season finale Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey sprained his MCL but finished the game. Wide receiver Mike Wallace had a hamstring injury. Running back Baron Batch broke his right arm, and cornerback Curtis Brown strained his left Achilles.

Cornerback Keenan Lewis, slowed some by a hip injury, said he played much of the game with a sore knee. Wide receiver Antonio Brown aggravated a sore ankle but returned to finish with five catches for 97 yards.

• Running back Rashard Mendenhall, playing for the first time in three weeks, rushed for a game-high 50 yards on 11 carries, including a season-best 20-yard run. But the Steelers abandoned the run for much of the second half. “We didn't convert enough on third down to keep drives going where we could keep running the ball,” Mendenhall said. “We got some things going up front, and fortunately I was able to get a little bit going today.”

• The Steelers have lost five games by five points or fewer this season, including against Baltimore, Dallas, Oakland and Tennessee. Safety Ryan Clark said the reason is simple. “It says you don't finish. You don't make the plays to win football games,” he said.

• The three-point defeat was especially painful for kicker Shaun Suisham. He missed two field-goal attempts, including a 23-yarder, after making 15 in a row and missing only one of 27 attempts previously. Suisham's second miss of the season came after a low snap. “It stabilized, but it wasn't going to go in anyway,” he said. His second miss came from 53 yards, a yard shy of the stadium record. “I own it; that's mine,” Suisham said. “I should have made it.”

• The Steelers' top-ranked pass defense gave up some big yards on third-down situations, including a 19-yard completion to close the third quarter. They surrendered 23- and 25-yard completions on a third-quarter drive, but the Bengals lost the ball on downs when A.J. Green couldn't get both feet down after catching the ball at the Steelers' 8.

• Linebacker Larry Foote hinted there's uncertainty about his return next season. “I wouldn't be surprised if this is my last year,” he said. “I wouldn't be surprised if I did come back next year. I'm at that age when you never know what's going to happen.”

— Ralph N. Paulk

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