Steelers' Keenan Lewis is called for interference on the Giants' Hakeem Nicks in the second quarter.
By Ed Bouchette Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Steelers worked overtime Sunday, and it paid off in a big way.
Their charter took off from Pittsburgh a little after 9 a.m. Sunday and arrived at Newark Liberty airport in New Jersey a little after 10. They took buses to the Marriott at the airport, ate a pregame meal and then boarded the buses again for the short ride to MetLife Stadium.
"It felt kind of weird coming the day of," halfback Isaac Redman said. "But any obstacle that comes in our way, we just push it aside and come to work."
All NFL teams are required to be in town a day before a scheduled game on the road, but with Superstorm Sandy knocking out power to their hotel in Jersey City, the Steelers decided to make it a one-day trip.
"We knew the Giants were dealing with their own adversity," Redman said, "so we couldn't feel bad for ourselves, and we just came out here ready to play."
The Steelers were down to their No. 3 returner and two healthy halfbacks by the time the game was over. They lost Antonio Brown to what coach Mike Tomlin called a mild, high, left ankle sprain. They lost Chris Rainey to a rib injury.
So Emmanuel Sanders was returning punts and he returned one 63 yards to the Giants 12. But like some other long returns in the game, the Steelers did not take advantage of that. That short series ended when their fake field-goal attempt failed from the 3.
Rainey also had a 50-yard kickoff return that produced nothing when Ben Roethlisberger was called on the controversial fumble the Giants' Michael Boley returned 70 yards for a touchdown. Rainey returned the kickoff to open the second half 68 yards to New York's 35. But when the Steelers were back on the 36 on fourth down, they punted.
Redman, who has overcome two high ankle sprains, nevertheless ran 26 times for 147 yards. Jonathan Dwyer ran for 100 yards in each of their previous two games, so they have three consecutive 100-yard backs for the first time since Willie Parker (twice) and Najeh Davenport rattled off three in a row in December 2007.
As expected, Dwyer and Rashard Mendenhall did not dress because of their injuries.
Other Steelers inactives: Marcus Gilbert, Troy Polamalu, Stevenson Sylvester, Alameda Ta'amu and Charlie Batch.
The New York Giants were hoping to have safety Kenny Phillips back to help cover tight end Heath Miller, but Phillips missed his fifth consecutive game.
Other Giants inactives: Chase Blackburn, Adewale Ojomo, Bear Pascoe, Keith Rivers, Adrien Robinson and Jacquian Williams.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin clearly was not happy after the defeat, calling it "as disappointing a loss as we've had around here in a long time. ... We've lost games where we've played really well and physically battled away and just got beat, but that wasn't one of them." Coughlin said he "didn't pull a lot of punches" when he expressed his frustration to his players. "We were right there and we weren't able to do anything."
A big reason for Coughlin's dismay was because the Giants lost after an emotional pregame ceremony honoring military personnel and first responders who did so much wonderful work after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the area last week. "We wanted emotionally so badly to win the game for obvious reasons, for all our neighbors who are struggling and need some kind of inspiration," Coughlin said. "Of course, we didn't provide it for them."
Big Ben touched
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he also was touched by the pregame ceremony. "It just makes you really appreciate what we do. We have to be so appreciative of the game we get to play," he said. "We call it work, but it really is a game and there's so much bigger things going on in the world and in our country. ... Our thoughts and prayers are always with everyone else that's going through so much."
• Roethlisberger ran his record to 24-7 against NFC teams, and the Steelers have won 29 of their past 35 games against the NFC.
• Sacked only six times in his first eight games, New York quarterback Eli Manning was dropped twice in the span of seven plays in the fourth quarter Sunday, once by Lawrence Timmons and once by LaMarr Woodley.
• The Steelers defense has allowed only one 100-yard rushing performance (by Oakland's Darren McFadden) and one 100-yard receiving performance (Denver's Demaryius Thomas) this season.
• Manning thought New York's failings were simply a matter of not being sharp.
"All night we weren't as sharp as we needed to be," he said. "Not efficient in the red zone, not very good on third down. We haven't been playing our best football offensively in the last few weeks. Our defense has been playing great, but tonight it finally caught up with us."
• Even though the Steelers won the time-of-possession battle for the seventh time in eight games, keeping the ball for 35:15, Giants defense end Justin Tuck didn't think New York's defense ran out of gas. "That will never been an excuse," he said. "You enjoy playing the game and regardless if you play 60 plays or 90 plays a week. It's all about your heart. It's all about your want-to. I feel like we had that, but the ball didn't bounce our way tonight."