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Mendenhall shines in Steelers' 16-14 win over Philadelphia

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It didn't take long for Mendenhall to remind fans why he is the best running back on the Steelers.

Justin K. Aller - Getty Images


With the Steelers rushing for 2.6 yards a carry, it was a stretch to suggest one of their running backs would win a rushing yards battle against Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy.

Welcome back, Rashard Mendenhall. And you've never looked so good.

Mendenhall, looking slimmer and more agile than in the past, rushed 14 times for 81 yards and a touchdown in the Steelers dramatic 16-14 win over Philadelphia in Week 5.

The Steelers put together a nine-play, 51-yard drive starting with 6:33 left in the game, leading to a 34-yard game-winning field goal by Shaun Suisham.

It followed an impressive 17-play drive by Philadelphia that gave them a 14-13 lead.

The win wasn't without its cost, though. The Steelers lost safety Troy Polamalu in the first quarter, appearing to re-injure his calf, which kept him out of the last two games prior to Week 5.

Pittsburgh also lost outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley to a hamstring injury - the same kind of injury that kept him out of almost the entire second half of the 2011 season.

It was a particularly poorly timed injury, considering battery mate James Harrison returned to the field after missing the first three games this season. Woodley and Harrison haven't played a full game together since Week 3 of the 2011 season.

With a short week ahead of them - the Steelers play at Tennessee Thursday - it doesn't seem likely Woodley or Polamalu will be involved, but the Steelers pass rush dominated in their absence. Causing a slew of pressure, largely credited to Lawrence Timmons, the Steelers harassed Eagles quarterback Michael Vick through four quarters. The Steelers had three sacks - Steve McLendon, Ziggy Hood and Jason Worilds - but the pressure stifled many Eagles drives, and made Vick's final numbers look much better than his overall performance.

Vick fumbled twice in the first half, both recovered by the Steelers. His counterpart, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, found some of the clutch mojo that appeared to have been difficult to re-kindle recently. Roethlisberger hit wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders for seven yards on a 3rd-and-4 play on Brandon Boykin, the Eagles nickel back whom the Steelers referred to as a "candy bar" in the week leading to the game.

Isaac Redman had also mentioned the Eagles' lack of desire to stop the run. While the Eagles had been pretty strong against the run in their previous four games, they surrendered 136 yards on 31 carries in the Steelers' win.