Tuesday, November 14, 2006
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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."