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Starkey: Steelers' Harrison guts it out

| Monday, Dec. 28, 2009

10. Incredible effort from linebacker James Harrison, who needed a locker-room attendant to help him remove his shoulder pads after the game. Harrison sustained bruised biceps and a strained tendon in his upper left arm at practice Thursday. When he awakened Sunday, he wasn't sure he could play. "I couldn't really use my arm effectively," Harrison said. He wasn't his usual dominant self, but he still had five tackles and a forced fumble. "He played pretty good for a one-armed guy," coach Mike Tomlin said.

9. Say what you want about Jeff Reed's short kickoffs -- not to mention his short fuse -- but the guy has mastered the difficult conditions at Heinz Field and won't be easily replaced should he leave via free agency. Reed was 3 for 3 yesterday, including the game-winner from 38 yards, and he's 22 for 24 since his nightmare showing in Chicago. His only misses were from beyond 50 yards.

8. Do you think Derrick Mason has seen enough of Lawrence Timmons• Timmons plastered Mason on a key fourth-quarter play in last year's game in Baltimore and nearly topped himself yesterday with a smashing hit that separated Mason from the ball and his senses. "I don't mean any disrespect to the guy," Timmons said. "I'm a big fan of his. I've liked him ever since he played for Tennessee." He has a funny way of showing it.

7. The Steelers play "backyard ball," as Ben Roethlisberger calls it, better than anyone. It happened again on the 24-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes that capped a 94-yard drive at the end of the first half. Holmes wasn't the primary receiver. He wasn't even an option, the way the play was designed. "He shouldn't have looked for the ball, and I shouldn't have thrown it," Roethlisberger said. "We were completely wrong in every way, except that we scored a touchdown."

6. As it turns out, maybe Stefan Logan hasn't gotten enough credit as a kickoff return man. He came into the game in the top half of the league with a 26.1-yard average and busted one for 49 yards to set up a field goal. The perception of Logan certainly would change if he found the end zone. "I'm so close," Logan said. "Ryan Clark said I'm probably one of the most exciting almost -touchdown runners he's ever seen. It's going to come."

5. Too bad Anthony Smith isn't around to guarantee a Texans' win over New England next weekend. That might light a fire under the Patriots.

4. Undrafted rookie receiver Tyler Grisham fielded about 20 texts from friends and relatives after the game, in which he made his first NFL catch. What stood out to me was what happened after Grisham's first NFL drop, which occurred right after the catch and just before the field goal that made the score 23-20. "Ben said, 'You know you're better than that, but I'm going to come back to you,' " Grisham said. "Coach Tomlin said the same thing -- he said, 'Jeff's going to make this right here, and if we get the ball back, we're coming back to you.' "

3. How could the Ravens not look to utilize 6-foot-5 tight end Todd Heap more often• Heap's only two catches were touchdowns in mismatches against Deshea Townsend and William Gay. Heap only was targeted one other time.

2. You remember Darren Stone. He's the one who blasted Anthony Madison late in the fourth quarter of the AFC title game -- out of bounds -- forcing the Ravens to start on their 12 instead of their 40 and setting up Troy Polamalu's dramatic interception. The Ravens didn't learn. Yesterday, it was Haloti Ngata popping Ryan Mundy out of bounds after a Steelers' punt late in the third quarter. "They put big 92 (Ngata) on the punt return to bully the center," Mundy said. "I don't know what happened, but my ribs are hurting now. It was definitely a cheap shot."

1. When the Steelers went up by three with 5:21 left, you know what everybody in the press box was asking: Time for an onside kick• Of course, Reed kicked deep -- and Jalen Parmele returned it 48 yards to the Steelers' 49.

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