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AFC NOTES

Eight Is Not Enough for Bettis

January 28, 2002|Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — Jerome Bettis waited eight weeks for this?

The Steelers' Pro Bowl running back, playing for the first time since Dec. 2 because of a groin injury, gained only eight yards in nine carries in Pittsburgh's 24-17 loss Sunday.

Bettis was confident all week he could quickly get back into game shape.

But he never got going and, clearly ineffective, was idled for part of the second and third quarters as Amos Zereoue replaced him.

It isn't like Bettis hasn't been here before.

In the 1996 season, he tried to play against New England in the playoffs despite a groin injury, but was held to 43 yards as the Steelers lost, 28-3. The Patriots also went on to the Super Bowl that season.

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Steeler kicker Kris Brown made a 30-yard field goal, but wrapped up an awful season by having a 34-yard field goal blocked by Brandon Mitchell and returned for the game's key touchdown.

Brown missed a league-high 14 field goals during the season, then had another miss last week against Baltimore.

Of the block, Brown said, "The most dreaded sound a kicker hears is that thud. I tried to tackle the guy who returned it, but he lateraled it and they scored a touchdown.

"Nothing more needs to be said."

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