The defense set the Steelers up for their next score when Ryan Clark intercepted E.J. Manuel at the 50-yard line and returned it 37 yards to the 13-yard line. The offense wasn’t able to get it into the end zone, but Shaun Suisham came on for a 37-yard field goal, extending the lead to 20-3.
A fired-up defense shut the Bills down on their ensuing drive with sacks by Jarvis Jones and Cam Heyward to force the punt.
Antonio Brown put the Steelers right back in scoring position with a 50-yard punt return to the Bills 11-yard line. Bell had gains of one and five yards, but on third down Roethlisberger’s pass to Heath Miller in the end zone was broken up. Suisham came through with a 23-yard field goal for the 23-3 lead.
The Bills added a last second touchdown, to pull within 23-10 with just three seconds to play.
Tags: Antonio Brown, Cam Heyward, Jarvis Jones, Ryan Clark, Shaun Suisham
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While many are concerned about the Steelers facing distractions when they arrive in London, safety Ryan Clark thinks they will be getting away from the distractions that come with being an 0-3 team.
“I think it’s good to get away,” said Clark. “I don’t think it will be a distraction in a bad way because of the way Coach (Mike) Tomlin handles it. I think it will be a distraction in a good way because it gets us away from every day hearing what’s going on with us.
“We can get away, spend time together as a team, get some of the chemistry and fellowship that you lose once the offense and defense go into meetings, you study separate. It gives us the opportunity to just play football and try to win the game. That’s become our focus this week.”
Tags: London, Ryan Clark, Steelers
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Safety Ryan Clark loves playing football, so much so that every time he takes the field, even in his 12th season, he still gets butterflies.
“I am nervous every game,” said Clark. “When I stop it’s time for me to hang it up. Those little butterflies let you know you are still alive, that it’s still important and that you respect this game.
“I like it. I like being nervous. I am on edge about the first three plays and then I calm down and have a good time. “
Clark will have a new duty this season, taking the field as a defensive captain at the coin toss for the first time in his career.
“In college I never wanted to be a captain,” he said. “I always ran out of the tunnel last. Coach (Mike) Tomlin asked me last year against Washington if I wanted to be a captain. I told him I want to stick to my routine.
“Going out for the coin toss in one way will be weird for me, but it’s also a blessing. It will be a little nerve-wracking, but also exciting.”
And despite the fact that it will change his routine, Clark will be ready to go right on time.
“People always ask the same thing, ‘Are you ready for Sunday,’” said Clark. “My answer is always the same. ‘I will be ready at 12:59.’ That is when I will be ready. That is when I will be focused in and ready to play the game.
“I understand the process, the preparation for the game. You have to be ready to play when it’s time, no sooner, no later.”
Tags: Ryan Clark
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The defense will face a stiff challenge this week trying to stop Titans all-everything running back Chris Johnson. Last year they were able to contain him, holding him to “just” 91 yards on 19 carries. They know in order to do it again they have to wrap him up and not let him get away from an initial tackle.
“It’s not letting Chris Johnson get a crack,” said safety Ryan Clark. “He is a guy that scares you. If you stop him for a loss it doesn’t matter, he can go 80 yards the next play. It’s about knowing your gap and being in front of him. You have to tackle him. That is the main thing about it, getting him on the ground. He is a guy you can get close to and never get to wrap him up because he is so quick, so shifty and so explosive. We have done a good job, but he has gotten off on us too.
“We have to be physical with him early and try to get him from wanting to run against us.”
Tags: Chris Johnson, NFL Kickoff Weekend, Ryan Clark, Steelers, Titans
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The Steelers defense finished the 2012 season ranked No. 1 in the NFL, but the players think they could be even better this year.
So how can you improve on No. 1?
“I think that the number is not as important as the effect you have on football games,” said safety Ryan Clark. “We were extremely hard to score on last year. I think we were hard to move the ball on last year, which is good. But how many games did we truly dominate? How many times did you guys come in and start to write or speak and say, ‘The defense dominated this game. The Steelers defense won this game.’
“Whereas, you look at the years like 2008, it was almost every game where we did something in that game other than stop people that helped us to win. I think that’s how you get better. That’s the way you improve, and that’s the difference between 8-8 and 12-4.”
SI.com recently didn’t include the Steelers among the top five defenses in the NFL this year, and Clark joked it’s because “we’re old and slow and done.”
“You have to go out on Sunday and play the games,” said Clark. “The things that you know – we’re going to run to the ball, we’re going to be physical, we’re going to hit people and let the chips fall where they may. But there are not a lot of running backs or receivers that go into the week saying, ‘I can’t wait to play the Pittsburgh Steelers.’ So, that’s what we have to do. We have to continue to be physical.”
Tags: Ryan Clark, Steelers defense
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On Monday night, Clark brought his bubbly personality to women definitely in need of a little holiday cheer when he and teammate Kelvin Beachum served a holiday dinner to those at the Women’s Center and Shelter of Pittsburgh, a shelter that serves women and children affected by the horror that is domestic violence.
Clark first visited the shelter a few years ago with former teammate William Gay, whose mother lost her life to domestic violence. When Gay left via free agency, Clark promised he would continue the commitment to the shelter and he hasn’t let them down.
“I can never put myself in their shoes, but to see how much Will cared and know he had a tragedy with his mother and seeing the effort he put in, it’s a blessing to be able to come here and do that now,” said Clark, who was also joined by his wife Yonka and their three children. “It’s about lifting someone up during the holiday season when they are going through a tough time.
“Domestic violence is so real. A lot of times it escalates to more than someone putting their hand on someone. What is missed and what I see here is so many kids are affected. These women have children that they have to bring here. To come here and get the word out and do something for them, it’s a reality that is going on in the world.”
Clark and Beachum joked with the ladies, giving one who is a Ravens fan a playfully tough time, and just making them feel special and cared for.
“To be able to put a smile on their faces is priceless,” said Beachum. “To play with the kids and have a conversation with them is awesome.
“I haven’t had to personally deal with domestic violence, but have friends who had. To see there is a place women can go and seek help and we can contribute and be of help is wonderful.”
After dinner the players signed autographs for everyone and shared more hugs, smiles and laughs.
“The holidays can be a difficult time being separated from your family, out of your home and in a situation where you are living with a bunch of strangers,” said Barb Nicholas, the shelter’s Development Director. “To have the attention of celebrities like athletes to come forward and spend their time is so extra special. It means a lot that they show they are thinking about the people here and caring about them. They understand the courage it took the women to come here and seek help.
Tags: Kelvin Beachum, Ryan Clark
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Five players missed practice on Wednesday, including running back Jonathan Dwyer (quadriceps), tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle), safety Troy Polamalu (calf), and linebackers Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring) and LaMarr Woodley (hamstring).
In addition, running backs Baron Batch (shin), and Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) practiced only on a limited basis.
There was good news, though, as safety Ryan Clark was a full participant in practice after suffering a concussion against the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
“I got dinged. It was a football play,” said Clark. “I passed my test this morning that I had to take. Practice was another test. You have to make sure none of the other systems linger from having a concussion. I feel good. I am going to continue preparing to get ready for the game on Sunday.”
Also back on the practice field was running back Isaac Redman, who missed the last few weeks with an ankle injury.
“I feel pretty good,” said Redman. “I got loosened up as practice went along. I felt good. There were no problems.
“I am ready to go. I have been sitting out too long. I am ready to get back on the field.”
Tags: Isaac Redman, Ryan Clark
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The Steelers have had success in Cincinnati, winning nine of their last 10 regular season games there. But by no means is there a comfort level as they take on the Bengals this week at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday Night Football.
“I don’t think that matters,” said safety Ryan Clark. “I think Cincinnati is a totally different team now that you’re talking about an Andy Dalton led team, an A.J. Green led team. On the other side of that, we’re also a different team. I was counting the other day which guys had two Super Bowls, it’s not many. I think it’s 10 out of the 53 that are on the roster.
“It’s not the same teams that have gone through these battles, that have been through these trials, have been through these tribulations. It’s a different squad. So, we have to make our way. It has nothing to do with what’s happened in the history of this series. It’s about Sunday night.”
It will be players like Dalton, Green, tight end Jermaine Gresham and receiver Andrew Hawkins that the Steelers defense will have to deal with if they want to continue with their success in Cincinnati on Sunday.
“We’re going to play our game,” said Clark. “We just need to play it better. We have a corner who we feel matches up well with him (A.J.) athletically on both sides. Keenan (Lewis) and Ike (Taylor) are tall, long, rangy guys. The thing about A.J. Green is, you could have him covered, but he just makes the catch. He’s got extreme body control, great hands, and he’s definitely one of the top five receivers in the league already.”
Green, 6-4, 207, has 43 receptions for 628 yards so far this season, first in the NFL in yardage and tying him for third in the league in receptions.
“He is a great guy, one of the best in the business,” said Lewis. “He can do everything. He is a good route runner. When you have someone like that, a guy 6-4 running routes like he is 5-9, it makes Andy Dalton’s job a little bit easier.
“You have to cover him. He is out there. We have to do our job. I pretty much think we can handle it.”
Hawkins, a 5-7, 180 pound, second-year player out of Toledo, might not have Green’s size but makes up for it with speed. He has 25 catches for 329 yards and two touchdowns, including a 59-yarder.
“He is probably the quickest guy I have ever seen in my life,” said Lewis. “We know we have to deal with him. We have to prepare for him and contain him and not let him do whatever he wants.”
Gresham could give the Steelers fits from a matchup standpoint, at 6-5, 260, but the key with defending him is the same as with anyone else – you have to play physical defense.
“If you look at safeties covering him, we’re not as big as he is,” said Clark. “He can kind of body us and get in between the ball. You think about linebackers out in that space that he is able to play in, it’s a tough cover for them also. He’s an easy guy to create matchup problems with.
“My answer for everything, if people are running, if they are catching passes, put pads on them. That is why they give us pads; that’s why we play the game. That is what makes it different from basketball. When you have a mismatch in basketball he is going to score 30. In football the great equalizer is physicality and want to. We will try to get hands on him, make him work for his catches and once he catches it, get hats on the ball.”
Tags: Keenan Lewis, Ryan Clark
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Their return definitely will be a boost for the defense, and something the Eagles offense will have to prepare for.
“It gives you two players you have to scheme for offensively,” said safety Ryan Clark. “They are two players Coach (Dick) LeBeau can use extensively in his package and isolate and give them opportunities to make plays. Also, they are going to produce. You know what they are capable of. They seem extremely healthy right now, which is good for us and allows us to be the defense we have been for years.”
Polamalu has missed the last two games and Harrison hasn’t played yet this season. According to Clark while it does give the defense a lift, it also puts some pressure on them.
“I told them Monday first play no more excuses,” said Clark. “We can’t run in here and say we don’t have Troy or James. We have everybody we are supposed to have so we have to go out and make plays. You get a lift when they are out there running around, running to the ball and doing what they have done for years and we are definitely excited about that.”
Having Polamalu and Harrison back on the field couldn’t come at a better time as the Steelers are trying to rebound and improve on their 1-2 record against a tough 3-1Eagles team lead by Michael Vick. Vick can do damage with his arm and his ability to run with the ball, so the defense has to be on point at all times.
“Being able to run opens up a lot of avenues for the offense as a whole,” said Clark. “You see what Ben (Roethlisberger) can do, how he can extend plays, and you are talking about a guy who is different from any quarterback who has played the game in Michael Vick.”
Vick has been sacked 11 times through four games, so applying pressure on him is going to be a key for the defense.
“You have to hit him more than once,” said Clark. “He has been taking a pounding this year. You look at the first few weeks of the season, guys are getting to him, able to make him fumble and give the ball up. That is what you look to do. In trying to get to him you have to be sound in your technique and sound in your gaps. Where you see opponents try to exploit what he does, he can also exploit you if you are trying to make plays that are out of the sense of the defense.
“With Michael Vick it’s not always about making the play, but stopping him from making the play.”
Tags: James Harrison, Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu
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Steelers’ players have the next four days off for their bye week, giving several who are ailing a chance to get healthy. Among those the team hopes to get back on the field after the bye are linebacker James Harrison, safety Troy Polamalu and running back Rashard Mendenhall.
“It would help,” said linebacker LaMarr Woodley, speaking about Harrison and Polamalu. “Those are our key guys. That makes a big difference for the defense. Having them back will be great for our defense. The bye week is always great. Having a few injuries, Troy and James, gives guys time to heal up and rest and come back and play.”
Harrison was on the field for the first time on Tuesday, but didn’t participate on Wednesday. Polamalu worked on both days.
While both players are expected to make an impact upon their return whenever that might be, their teammates also know they can’t depend solely on them to turn things around defensively.
“We have to get them back out there,” said safety Ryan Clark. “But I don’t think it’s fair to put that much pressure on those guys to say you are why we are not playing well. You can’t say the standard is the standard and say we aren’t playing well because they aren’t there. You can’t do that. The guys who are on the field need to perform.”
Mendenhall has been practicing regularly, even getting more physical contact for the first time last week. With the running game not getting in gear yet, having him back soon would be a welcome addition.
“Rashard is one of the best in the league,” said wide receiver Mike Wallace. “When you get a guy back like that who is very explosive, has really good feet, a lot of vision, it’s going to boost our team.”
The Steelers take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 7 at Heinz Field and getting any or all three of the injured players back for that game is something teammates are hoping for.
“You get a player like Rashard back, James and Troy and that will provide us a spark,” said wide receiver Antonio Brown. “They are key factors on our team and provide us an opportunity to win games. It will be great to have them back and this gives them time to recover.”
Tags: Antonio Brown, James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Mike Wallace, Rashard Mendenhall, Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu
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With a few days off this weekend some players will be heading to see their college teams play, others getting some much needed rest and some just going away to visit family for a few days.
And for a few others, it will be all about family this weekend.
“I am just going to be a dad and a husband,” said safety Ryan Clark. “That is the only plan. I am going to go to cheer competitions, soccer game, and a football game. Other than that I don’t have anything planned.
“Your priorities change as you get older. I just want to relax, do some treatments, training and hang out with the babies when they got off of school.”
Ike Taylor is looking forward to seeing his son Ivan play t-ball this weekend.
“I am going to spend time with my son and the family,” said Taylor. “He is playing t-ball so I can see him play. I am very excited. I hear how good he is, he has good hand eye coordination and confidence. I can’t wait to see him.”
For Larry Foote, it’s going to be whatever his wife tells him that he does.
“It’s all family,” said Foote. “My wife makes those decisions. She started setting it up early this week. I will watch a little bit of football, sleep and watch football, but it’s about my wife and kids.”
Tags: Ike Taylor, Larry Foote, Ryan Clark
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Free safety Ryan Clark can’t wait for his 2012 season to get started this week, after not being able to play against Denver because of complications due to the sickle cell trait and playing in the high altitude.
Clark will be back in the starting lineup against the New York Jets on Sunday at Heinz Field, and is ready to roll.
“It feels a lot better this week,” said Clark. “You feel like you are not part of the team when you are in that position, especially not being injured. You know you are healthy enough to play and aren’t able to and it’s tough.
“I am excited about this week. I wish it was coming off a win. There is nothing we can do to fix that but go out and try to win this week.”
Clark said it was difficult standing on the sidelines being a spectator, a feeling he hates having.
“It’s hard. It’s hard when the team doesn’t come out with the win,” said Clark. “You want to be out there with the guys you prepared for that moment with. We practice all offseason for the regular season and to miss the first one was tough.
“I am glad it’s behind me. I don’t have to think about it. Now it’s just football.”
And that comes with a big challenge this week against the Jets, with quarterback Mark Sanchez starting off the season strong against the Bills and the added dimension of Tim Tebow running the wildcat offense.
“We just have to come out this week and play well,” said Clark. “The Jets pose an interesting problem for us right now. All preseason all people talked about was them not scoring touchdowns and they lit up the scoreboard when it started to count. I am excited about the challenge.”
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Safety Ryan Clark will once again be a spectator on Sunday night when the Steelers travel to Denver, sidelined because the sickle cell trait he carries prevents him from playing in the high altitude in Denver.
Clark originally discovered he had the trait when the Steelers played in Denver in 2007 and he became ill, ultimately having surgery to remove his spleen and gall bladder.
Clark also missed a regular season game in Denver in 2009, a preseason game in 2010 and the playoff game last year. He wishes the schedule makers would have the Broncos come to Pittsburgh instead, but if they don’t he is going to make the most of it through his new initiative to help find a cure for sickle cell, Ryan Clark’s Cure League.
“It would be nice if I could play 16 games but it’s not the way it turned out,” said Clark. “But it has given me the opportunity to help people. If the schedule makers keep doing this, I will keep using it to help people.”
Tags: Ryan Clark
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Safety Ryan Clark has seen teammates come and go, with others stepping in to pick up the slack on the field. Clark knows the same will be the case on the field this year after the team lost James Farrior, Aaron Smith and Will Gay this offseason.
“As far as football, it’s going to roll on,” said Clark. “This organization won six Super Bowls for a reason. They know how to get the right people in the right position and allow them to play football. As far as the leadership I think everyone is doing what they have been doing all along and the leadership process happens naturally.”
But it’s off the field where he will miss guys who were more than teammates, they were friends.
“It’s the off the field stuff and the behind the scenes things that you miss the most,” said Clark. “James Farrior was the guy with the remote every morning when we had a break. He is the guy that gave the speech after we had a prayer. Aaron always said the same thing when we broke the huddle. You miss those things. Will Gay danced in the circle before we started the game. It’s the little things like that that hit you every now and then.”
Tags: Aaron Smith, James Farrior, Ryan Clark, William Gay
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S RYAN CLARK
On not being able to play in today’s game
“I really just wanted to play again, and that was the reason I tried to work hard during the week and help, but this is worse for my guys because they got to go out there and put everything on the line and gave it all to win the game. To lose and to lose in that fashion is hard, but you’ve got to tip your hat off to the Broncos and to Tim Tebow. He gets a lot of flak when things go wrong, but he played phenomenal today. He made plays for his team. It’s time to do whatever we have to do in the offseason to get ready for next year.”
On being eliminated from the playoffs so early
“It’s a different feeling. Definitely a feeling of incompletion and dissatisfaction. I just feel like we left a lot this year as a whole. To turn around on the sideline and see [DE] Brett Keisel standing there in a jacket, to see [NT] Casey Hampton standing there in a jacket, it’s a lot to overcome, but we didn’t win.”
Tags: Ryan Clark
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Sunday, January 8
There are plenty of Terrible Towels in the crowd as the Steelers get ready for kickoff.
Steelers starting center Maurkice Pouncey is among those inactive for today’s game against the Broncos. Doug Legursky will start at center.
Also inactive are cornerback Cortez Allen, safety Ryan Clark, linebacker Mortty Ivy, tackle Jamon Meredith, running back Mewelde Moore and defensive end Al Woods.
Ryan Mundy will start at free safety for Clark.
As the Steelers prepare to take on the Broncos, running backs coach Kirby Wilson is in the thoughts of all of Steelers Nation.
“Kirby is a fighter, he is fighting,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family as we prepare to play this football game.”
Tags: Al Woods, Casey Hampton, Cortez Allen, Doug Legursky, Jamon Meredith, Kirby Wilson, Maurkice Pouncey, Mewelde Moore, Mike Tomlin, Mortty Ivy, Ryan Clark, Ryan Mundy, Steelers Inactives
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