FAULK MOVES INTO FOURTH ON PATRIOTS ALL-TIME RECEPTIONS LIST
On a 9-yard reception in the third quarter, Kevin Faulk moved past Irving Fryar into sole possession of fourth place on the Patriots' all-time receptions list. The 9-yard catch was the 364th reception of Faulk's 10-year career and moved him past Fryar's total of 363 receptions for the Patriots from 1984-1992. Faulk, who finished the game with 366 career catches, now trails only Troy Brown (557), Stanley Morgan (534) and Ben Coates (490) on the Patriots' all-time receptions list. Faulk has had at least one reception in each game this season and has caught a pass in 42 straight regular-season games in which he has appeared.
FAULK HAS SECOND STRAIGHT 100-YARD GAME FROM SCRIMMAGE
Kevin Faulk totaled 121 yards from scrimmage, leading the team with 73 rushing yards and also pacing the club with 48 receiving yards on a team-best seven receptions. Today's game marked the second straight contest in which Faulk has exceeded 100 yards from scrimmage (he had 105 scrimmage yards last week at Miami). Through 12 games this season, Faulk has totaled 808 yards from scrimmage (445 rushing and 363 receiving), a total that ranks second on the team to Wes Welker's 894 scrimmage yards (26 rushing and 868 receiving). Since 2000, Faulk leads the Patriots in total scrimmage yards and is one of just six NFL players to have totaled more than 2,000 rushing yards and 3,000 receiving yards this decade (2000-08). The others to achieve the feat are Tiki Barber, Marshall Faulk, LaDainian Tomlinson, Brian Westbrook and Michael Pittman.
FAULK GOES LONG
Kevin Faulk had a 41-yard run in the second quarter, recording the third longest rush of his 10-year career and his longest since breaking a career-long 45-yard touchdown run on Nov. 3, 2002. The rush was the longest of the year against the Steelers, topping the previous best of 22 yards by Washington's Clinton Portis on Nov. 3. Faulk's 41-yard run was his third rush of 20 yards or longer in the last three games after having just three rushes of 20 yards or more in his previous five seasons (2003-07). Faulk entered the game as the Patriots' leading rusher with 372 rushing yards, totaling his highest single-season total since compiling a career-best 638 rushing yards in 2003.
FAULK MOVES INTO TOP 25 ON PATRIOTS GAMES PLAYED LIST
Kevin Faulk is playing in his 134th game as a Patriot this afternoon, moving him into the top 25 on the Patriots' all-time games played list. Faulk's total of 134 games tie defensive back Don Webb (1961-71) for 25th place. Faulk is in his 10th season with the Patriots since being selected in the second round (46th overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft out of Louisiana State.
VRABEL INTERCEPTION LEADS TO EARLY TOUCHDOWN
Mike Vrabel leapt into the air and intercepted a Ben Roethlisberger pass near the line of scrimmage in the first quarter, recording his 11th career interception and his first since Dec. 3, 2006. Vrabel returned the interception five yards to the Steelers' 14-yard line and set up a 3-play, 14-yard drive that ended in a 2-yard touchdown run by Sammy Morris and a 7-0 Patriots lead 2:59 into the game. New England scored off of an opponents turnover for the fourth straight week. Vrabel was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the 1997 NFL Draft and played four seasons for Pittsburgh (1997-2000) before joining the Patriots prior to the 2001 season.
Sammy Morris plunged into the end zone from two yards out to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead with 2:59 elapsed in the game. The touchdown was Morris's fifth rushing score of the season and was the 22nd rushing touchdown of his career. The touchdown was Morris's first since Oct. 20.
- Randy Moss hauled in a 27-yard pass from Matt Cassel in the first quarter. Heading into the game, the Steelers had allowed the NFL's lowest number of plays of 20 yards or more (16), holding a solid lead over the next best team (Washington, 26).
- Jerod Mayo stopped Willie Parker in the backfield for a 2-yard loss in the first quarter, forcing the Steelers into a second-and-long situation that resulted in Mike Vrabel's interception.
- Vince Wilfork and Le Kevin Smith combined to stop Pittsburgh's Gary Russell for no gain on third-and-one from the Patriots' 2-yard line in the first quarter, keeping the Steelers out of the end zone and forcing a 20-yard field goal on the next play that preserved the Patriots' lead, 7-3.
- Tedy Bruschi provided pressure on Ben Roethlisberger on third-and-three in the second quarter, helping to force an incompletion on the play and a Steelers punt on the following play.
- Ellis Hobbs and Richard Seymour combined to sack Ben Roethlisberger for a 7-yard loss on first down in the second quarter. The sack raised Seymour's 2008 sack total to 7.5, and gave him a total of 6.5 sacks in the last 7 games.
SCORING FIRST STREAK SNAPPED
The Patriots scored first today to take a 7-0 lead, but fell to the Steelers 33-10. Today's result broke a streak of 23 straight regular season victories when scoring first. Prior to today, the last time the Patriots lost a game in which they scored first was on November 12, 2006 against the New York Jets.
WELKER'S STREAK OF GAMES WITH 6 CATCHES SNAPPED
Wes Welker finished the afternoon with four receptions, snapping his streak of 15 straight games (including playoffs) in which he had six or more catches. Prior to today, the last time Welker did not have at least six catches was on Dec. 23, 2007 against Miami, when he finished with five receptions. Welker had totaled at least six receptions in each of this season's first 11 games, setting an NFL record for most consecutive games with six or more receptions to begin a season (topping the previous record of eight, set by Jacksonville's Jimmy Smith in 2001).
- Ellis Hobbs broke up a Ben Roethlisberger pass intended for Santonio Holmes on third down in the second quarter, forcing a Pittsburgh punt on the next play.
- Deltha O'Neal broke up a deep Roethlisberger pass in the second quarter intended for Nate Washington.
- Mike Vrabel tipped away a Roethlisberger pass intended for Holmes on a first down in the first quarter.