Steelers notebook: Pryor's TD run still haunts Steelers

Ralph N. Paulk
| Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 5:45 p.m.

Even as the Steelers prepare to face the New England Patriots, they're struggling to put behind them a 21-18 loss at Oakland. More precisely, Terrelle Pryor's 93-yard touchdown run on the game's first play from scrimmage.

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley has had days to process what happened. The bottom line, of course, is that strong safety Troy Polamalu couldn't fight off a block to redirect Pryor, and free safety Ryan Clark committed to Darren McFadden on the fake handoff.

“My focus wasn't to even look at the quarterback. If it looks like a handoff, I take the running back,” Woodley said. “Everybody's got a responsibility. It was just a mistake, and it happens in a game. It ended up costing us a 93-yard run.”

Pryor's record-setting run — it was the longest TD run by a quarterback in NFL history — overshadowed how slowly he has progressed as a passer. His 25.7 passer rating was the worst for a winning quarterback since Craig Morton in 1972.

• Guard David DeCastro, who injured an ankle against Oakland, did not practice Wednesday. Neither did cornerback Curtis Brown (not injury related), defensive tackle Steve McLendon (illness) and receiver Markus Wheaton (finger). Guard Ramon Foster, who suffered a concussion Sunday, was limited in practice. Tight end Heath Miller (not injury related) and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related) also were limited. New England quarterback Tom Brady practiced despite a sore right shoulder. Brady's top receivers — Danny Amendola (groin), Julian Edelman (thigh) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (back, forearm, hamstring) were limited in practice.

• Linebackers Vince Williams and Jason Worilds aren't overlooking the fact the Patriots are averaging nearly twice as many rushing yards (120.6) than the Steelers (68.7). “We have to stop the run first. Then we can get pressure,” Worilds said. “They run and pass so well, they play off each other.” Said Williams: “We want to make them one-dimensional. We realize that when they're running the ball well, it makes (Tom) Brady a more effective passer.”

• Receiver Derek Moye, a Penn State product, must wear every day this week the No. 75 jersey that Ohio State product Mike Adams wore in the 2010 Rose Bowl victory over Oregon as payoff of a wager between the Big Ten rivals. Adams' Buckeyes defeated the Nittany Lions, 63-14, on Saturday.

— Ralph N. Paulk

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