Steelers' Polamalu pulled for safety reasons
Strong safety Troy Polamalu made one of the plays of the game Sunday for the Steelers, then left for good because of concussion-like symptoms.
Polamalu injured himself while taking out the legs of Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew on third-and-1 with 9 minutes, 36 seconds left in the game.
The injury is not believed to be serious, and coach Mike Tomlin said after the 17-13 win that the Steelers held out Polamalu because they "wanted to err on the side of caution."
Polamalu, who stopped Jones-Drew short of a first down, did not address the media after the game.
In other injury news, starting left guard Doug Legursky left at the beginning of the second quarter with a dislocated toe on his left foot. He did not return. Nose tackle Chris Hoke left later in the quarter after sustaining a stinger and also did not return.
Hoke said he hopes to play Sunday when the Steelers visit the Arizona Cardinals.
"I've just got to take it day by day," he said.
> > Ben Roethlisberger, who completed 12 of 23 passes for 200 yards, admittedly did not have his most accurate game. He said the swirling winds may have been an issue. "I have to make the necessary adjustments to purely focus on driving the ball and spinning it through the wind," he said. "When it is blowing, you have to put a lot of spin on the ball, and I wasn't doing that. It is something that I can easily change."
> > Shortly after a second game in as many days at Heinz Field, the grounds crew re-sodded the surface between the numbers. The next game at Heinz Field won't be until Oct. 26, when Pitt hosts UConn in a night game. The Steelers host the New England Patriots on Oct. 30.
> > All seven players on the Steelers' inactive list Sunday had been ruled out Friday because of injuries. Nose tackle Casey Hampton (shoulder), defensive end Aaron Smith (foot), left guard Chris Kemoeatu (knee), right tackle Marcus Gilbert (shoulder) and outside linebacker James Harrison (eye) were among the starters who didn't suit up. Running back Mewelde Moore (ankle) and outside linebacker Jason Worilds (thigh) also missed the game.
> > Hines Ward moved past Michael Irvin and into 19th place on the NFL's all-time receiving yards list. Ward, who caught three passes for 47 yards, has 11,939 receiving yards. ...The Jaguars' 10 net yards passing through two quarters were the fifth-lowest allowed by the Steelers in a first half since 1991. ... Former Steelers great Alan Faneca helped lead the Terrible Towel wave prior to kickoff. Faneca starred at guard for the Steelers from 1998-2007.
> > Trailing 17-10 with 4:22 left in the game and facing fourth-and-6 from the Steelers' 27-yard line, Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio had every intention of going for it. But when the Steelers came out in a look the Jaguars hadn't practiced for all week, rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert did what he was told — call a timeout.
"We were going to go for it, but they brought something that we didn't practice," running back Maurice Jones-Drew said.
Del Rio decided to settle for a 45-yard Josh Scobee field goal to make it 17-13.
"We went out for a look to take our shot there," Del Rio said. "It was a bad look with what we had up, and we elected to go ahead and take the field goal and allow our defense to get the ball back."
The Jaguars got the ball back but gave the offense only 61 seconds to travel 77 yards for the potential game-winning touchdown.
> > According to the Jaguars, Rashard Mendenhall's 68-yard run in the second quarter was simply a miss by the defense.
"We over ran it," defensive end Jeremy Mincey said. "If you go back and look at the tape, there was nobody physically getting beat. Guys just overran it. That's tough."
Mendenhall's other longest runs were 12 and 8 yards.
"They tried to run that play a few more times in the game and got zero," Del Rio said.
> > Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis entered the game with six career interceptions against the Steelers, three of which he returned for touchdowns. He could have gotten another, had it not been for Mike Wallace. "He grabbed my arm," Mathis said. "I didn't have my right arm."
> > Jacksonville didn't know it would be without left guard Eben Britton until a couple of hours before the game.
"When he got here, his back locked up," Del Rio said. "We tried to get him loose but weren't able to do so." Rookie Cameron Bradfield started his first career game in Britton's place.
"If you let go of the rope, you have no chance. As a football team, we are doing the right things, preparing the right way. We are working out butts off. We just need to play better in key moments." — Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville Jaguars coach
INSIDE THE LINES
> > Roethlisberger said a "miscommunication" prevented him and Antonio Brown from hooking up for a touchdown that would have given the Steelers a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter. Brown appeared to be open on third down from the Jaguars' 3, but Roethlisberger overshot the second-year wide receiver in the end zone. Remember the rapport Roethlisberger and Brown showed during training camp and the preseason• Its absence is one thing that is holding back the offense.
> > Mendenhall showed on his 68-yard run why talk of Isaac Redman supplanting him as the Steelers' feature back was premature. Mendenhall displayed great vision in picking his way through a hole and fending off Jaguars cornerback Mathis with a stiff arm. He then showed a nice burst in breaking away for the longest run of his career.
> > Redman wasn't nearly as busy running as the previous week, but he was a big part of the Steelers picking up a surprisingly large number of Jacksonville blitzes. Redman was steamrolled on the first blitz by Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny, but he was steady from there. "After he ran through me, there was nothing else," Redman said. "I thought he was going to give me a move, but he went straight bull-rush. After that, I was really ticked off."
> > The Steelers' run defense is not where it needs to be. Defensive end Brett Keisel admitted as much after Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for 96 yards on 22 carries. But consider this before despairing about the run defense: the Steelers stayed disciplined, for the most part, against a back that has made a career of bouncing off tacklers for extra yardage. And the Steelers held Jones-Drew to under 100 yards despite playing more than half of the game with their third-string nose tackle.
Steelers vs. Jaguars October 16, 2011
The Steelers defeat Jacksonville, 17-13, Sunday October 16, 2011 at Heinz Field.
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