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Steelers coach pleased with play of Gilbert

| Monday, Sept. 19, 2011

He didn't lavish praise on right tackle Marcus Gilbert following the Steelers' 24-0 win against the Seahawks.

But considering how rarely he talks up rookies, it was significant that coach Mike Tomlin said Gilbert's play Sunday was "above the line."

"I thought we had some movement there in the first half running the ball on his side," Tomlin said.

Taking over for Willie Colon, who's out for the rest of the season with a torn triceps, Gilbert got introduced with the rest of the offensive starters yesterday at Heinz Field.

"Running out of the tunnel, most people don't get an opportunity to do that," the second-round draft pick out of Florida said. "I got my nervousness out (of the way)."

"I am very proud of the way he stepped up," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who challenged Gilbert last week, after the Steelers found out Colon had been lost for the season. "I don't think the game was too big for him."

Gilbert said he will wait until after watching film before evaluating how he played.

"I'm never satisfied with what I do because I want to be a great player, and I want to help my team," Gilbert said.

» Starting defensive end Brett Keisel left Sunday's game with what Tomlin called a mild sprain of the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Keisel said it happened while making a tackle, and that he later left the game for good as a precaution.

"I think it will be fine," said Keisel, adding that he will have an MRI taken on the injured knee. "I felt a little weak, and with the lead we had, I didn't want to push it."

Tomlin said Keisel could have gone back into the game had the Steelers really needed him.

"We have capable young guys, and we played them," Tomlin said.

» William Gay and Ramon Foster started at cornerback and left guard, respectively. They replaced Bryant McFadden (hamstring) and Chris Kemoeatu (knee). Also not suiting up because of injuries were wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring) and outside linebacker Chris Carter (hamstring). Joining those four on the inactives list were quarterback Dennis Dixon, running back Jonathan Dwyer and offensive tackle Jamon Meredith.

» Outside linebacker James Harrison is one of only six players in franchise history to record at least 50 sacks. Harrison is at 50.5 after dropping Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson yesterday.

» Running back Rashard Mendenhall has rushed for at least one touchdown in seven consecutive games against NFC opponents.

» Chelsea Kane, who finished third to wide receiver Hines Ward in "Dancing With the Stars," attended yesterday's game with actress Jane Seymour. The two sat in Ward's private box.

Inside the lines

» Hines Ward may no longer be a No. 1 receiver, but two plays Sunday showed his value to the Steelers.

On the team's first touchdown drive, he locked up Seattle safety Earl Thomas and drove him to the side. That opened a gaping hole and resulted in a 9-yard run by Rashard Mendenhall.

On the Steelers' final touchdown drive, Ward managed to keep both feet in bounds while making a 15-yard catch on third down.

"Twinkle toes," he called it after the game, alluding to improving his footwork while winning "Dancing With the Stars" earlier this year.

» Oft-maligned cornerback William Gay replaced Bryant McFadden in the starting lineup. McFadden's hamstring bothered him the entire week, leaving him inactive Sunday.

Gay started ahead of Keenan Lewis and was solid in man coverage, which forced Seattle quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to hold onto the ball. Jackson was sacked five times.

"If somebody criticizes you, you just have to go back to work," said Gay, who had three tackles and broke up a pass. "I've been looking at myself as a starter all year."

» James Harrison recorded his first sack of the season, then offered a hand to help Jackson to his feet.

Could this be a kinder, gentler Harrison• He finished with four tackles, including two for loss.

» Receiver Emmanuel Sanders deftly completed his first NFL pass, a 15-yard bullet to Ward for a first down in the first quarter. More impressive: Sanders had to find Ward as his second option.

"Mike Wallace was double-covered, so I checked down to Hines," he said.

Photo Galleries

Steelers vs. Seahawks 9/18/11

Steelers vs. Seahawks  9/18/11

The Steelers defeat the Seattle Seahawks, 24-0, Sunday September 18, 2011 at Heinz Field.

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