Willie Parker came within 6 yards of setting a Steelers rushing record Sunday. He did set a few standards when he ran 22 times for 213 yards against the New Orleans Saints.
Parker's runs of 72 and 76 yards marked the only time a Steelers player had two runs longer than 70 yards in one game. It's the third time Parker has run for more than 70 yards in his brief career, four if his record Super Bowl run of 75 yards is counted. No other player has done it more than twice.
Steelers players who had two runs of 70 yards or more in their careers were Franco Harris, Frenchy Fuqua and Kordell Stewart. Parker had an 80-yard run in Cleveland Christmas Eve. That run is tied for fourth-longest in club history. His 76-yard run ranks seventh and his 72-yarder is tied for 12th.
Parker's 847 yards rushing this season rank fourth in the NFL and his eight touchdowns rushing are double what he had last season, reflecting the fact that he stays in games when the team nears the goal line. He scored from 4 and 3 yards Sunday.
His average per carry, which had hovered below 4 yards all season, leaped to 4.6 after his big day.
"Willie's doing a good job this year of really being patient," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "There were a couple of times that he thought he had the outside but he stayed patient and found the hole inside."
Warning from Cleveland
Emboldened by Cleveland's third victory of the year, Browns' wide receiver Braylon Edwards pulled a Joey Porter Sunday. He did not guarantee a victory by his team when they play the Steelers Sunday in Cleveland Stadium, but he did warn his next opponents.
"We're coming after their [tails]," Edwards told reporters after the Browns upset the Falcons in Atlanta Sunday. "You don't beat somebody 41-0 at their own house. We're coming for the Steelers, that's point-blank, period."
The Steelers beat the Browns in Cleveland, 41-0, Christmas Eve on their march to the playoffs and Super Bowl history. Edwards did not play in that game -- he was home with a torn ACL -- but he still can't get that loss out of his mind.
"You can't get beat like that and not come back the following game thinking about that game," he said. "It's not a situation where you say the past is the past. No, the hell with that."
No guarantees, please
Now that Porter delivered on his guaranteed win, his teammates don't necessarily want him or anyone else to extend it to any of their remaining seven games.
"Nobody really needs to guarantee it," tackle Max Starks said. "You just have to go out there and play."
Porter wore fatigues after the game and further explained his mid-week promise.
"We needed to do something to get out of that funk, especially here at Heinz Field. We've been complaining about how our fans haven't been loud for us at times. But we really haven't given them anything to be loud about. Hopefully, this win will change all of that."
The Steelers reversed a move they made on Saturday, resigning quarterback Brian St. Pierre to the 53-man roster and releasing linebacker Ron Stanley.
Because they had so many injuries to their linebackers, the Steelers signed Stanley Saturday to the 53-man roster from the practice squad and released St. Pierre, who has been the No. 3 quarterback this season. Stanley must clear waivers before the Steelers are able to sign him to the practice squad again.
Wide receiver Nate Washington dropped two more passes Sunday, one in the end zone, the second scoring chance he has dropped this season. ... The Steelers ran their record to 102-1-1 under Bill Cowher when they hold a lead of more than 10 points at any time in a game. ... Defensive end Brett Keisel had the Steelers' only sack of Drew Brees, who has been sacked just nine times this season. Keisel's four sacks are half off the team lead, held by Clark Haggans.Peter Diana, Post-Gazette
Running back Willie Parker set some rushing records Sunday against the Saints.
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