The New York Giants have never lost – they’re 10-0 – when Ahmad Bradshaw rushes for 100 yards or more.
The good news for Steelers fans, though, is that Bradshaw is questionable with a foot injury.
The bad news is that he fully expects to play, and not only that but he has said he’s playing for the millions of fans in the metropolitan New York area who’ve been dealing with Hurricane Sandy.
“We feel we can spark New York,” Bradshaw told reporters. “I think we can help everybody in New York and New Jersey that’s going through this.”
Bradshaw injured his foot Oct. 14 while in the midst of a 116-yard performance (and of course a win) against the San Francisco 49ers. Since then he’s practiced sparingly, but has played against both the Washington Redskins (12-43) and Dallas Cowboys (22-78).
The 5-10, 214-pounder is ninth in the NFL with 570 yards rushing (4.5 avg.).
Since the Giants drafted him in the seventh round of the 2007 draft, Bradshaw has rushed for 3,787 yards (4.6 avg.) and 30 touchdowns.
In college at Marshall University, Bradshaw ran behind a line that included Steelers reserve Doug Legursky. Bradshaw rushed for 2,982 yards (5.3) in his career before leaving early after a junior season in which he was named first team All-Conference USA.
“He was a great talent,” said Legursky. “It was mainly his quick short-area speed and his burst. He hits holes. We played against UTEP our junior years together. He had over 200 yards (261) and 5 touchdowns. It was one of those games when we really wanted to run the ball and that’s what we did. We pounded the same play over and over again and he kept scoring. It showed what kind of player he is.”
Bradshaw attended Graham High School in Bluefield, Virginia, the same school that turned out Hall of Famer “Bullet” Bill Dudley, the last Steeler to lead the NFL in rushing (1946).
THE REDMAN COMETH
The Steelers’ running game is more beat up than the Giants’. The Steelers list Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Dwyer as doubtful, so it falls to Isaac Redman to test a sore ankle that kept him out of the last two games.
Redman has been running in pain all season, as his 2.5 yards-per-carry average will attest.
“I doubt if I’ll be 100 percent for the rest of the season,” Redman said. “It’s football. Nobody in this locker room is probably at 100 percent right now. But I’m able to play through injuries. I’ve been doing it since I’ve been here.”
Behind Redman are rookie Chris Rainey (15 for 58 yards) and first-year man Baron Batch (22-39).
Among quarterbacks with at least 125 passing attempts, Eli Manning has been sacked the fewest times – 6.
And to think Ben Roethlisberger’s 13 is a low number.
“If you look at his style of play, he’s just like his older brother,” said Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis. “They get it out quick. You can tell he watches a lot of film, just like his brother.”
“They’ve had some pressure on him but he deals with it and gets rid of the ball,” said Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. “I’m sure his offensive linemen appreciate it.”
Roethlisberger on whether his offensive line has been fresher at the ends of games:
“I just think they want to finish. It’s always the linemen’s mentality at the end of the game to put the nail in the coffin. It’s all I’m saying in the huddle is, ‘Let’s step on their throat. Let’s just keep going and put them right into the ground.’”
BY THE NUMBERS
The Steelers have won their last four road games in the month of November. .. If they beat the Giants, it will mark only the second time in franchise history the Steelers beat both the Jets and Giants in the same season (2004). ... The Steelers are only 3-6 against defending champs since 2000. They’ve lost to four defending champs in a row since beating the New England Patriots in 2004. ... Roethlisberger’s first-half QB rating is 96.2, fourth behind Aaron Rodgers 107.1, Tom Brady 97.9, and Peyton Manning 97.4. ... Rainey is averaging 5.4 yards per carry in his last two games and he leads all rookie kickoff return men with an average of 27.2. ... Larry Foote leads the Steelers with 49 tackles and is tied with Jason Worilds for the team lead with 3 sacks. Foote’s career high is 4 sacks. ... Ike Taylor will play in his 130th consecutive game Sunday. It’s the longest active streak among NFL cornerbacks. The next longest streak belongs to former Steelers and current Cardinals CB William Gay at 87.