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Monday, October 24, 2011
What they're saying in Pittsburgh

By Mike Reiss

Some links from Pittsburgh as we look ahead to the Patriots' next game, Sunday against the host Steelers:

1. Wallace's quick-strike ability. Speedy receiver Mike Wallace scored on a 95-yard pass play from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (Wallace caught the ball at the 40 and did the rest), and Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette details how it was a key play in the team's win over the Cardinals on Sunday.

2. Receivers rise up. Roethlisberger had a big day connecting with his explosive receivers, and Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review is already looking ahead to Sunday's game against the Patriots. "The Steelers haven't had much luck against Tom Brady, having beaten the perennial All-Pro just one time (2004). These Steelers, however, may be better equipped to engage Brady in a shootout. That is especially true if Roethlisberger and his receivers are as in sync against the Patriots as they were against Arizona (1-5)."

3. Filling Aaron Smith's void. The Steelers placed veteran defensive end Aaron Smith on season-ending injured reserve Saturday, and Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette details what it means for the team. Ziggy Hood, a 2009 first-round draft choice, is now in the spotlight.

4. Woodley up to 7 sacks. In the "2-minute drill" from the Steelers' win over the Cardinals (who, like the Patriots this week, were coming off their bye), Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explains why outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley gets a game ball.

5. Development of WRs impressive. Mike Wallace (third round), Emmanuel Sanders (third round) and Antonio Brown (sixth round) are producing big results, and their development has helped reshape the Steelers' offense, Mike Bires of the Beaver County Times writes. With Hines Ward possibly out Sunday against the Patriots, they could be counted on heavily.

6. Is it Roethlisberger's time? Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that there will be plenty of talk about Tom Brady and Wes Welker this week, but the Ben Roethlisberger-to-Mike Wallace connection shouldn't be overlooked. "There’s reason to believe Roethlisberger is ready to assert himself against the Patriots. After a poor start this season, he has excelled, albeit against below-average teams, the past three weeks."