Friday, December 21, 2007

Willie Parker Is Out For The Season (Which Is Only 1 More Game)

The Pittsburgh Steelers' 41-24 victory over the St. Louis Rams was overshadowed by the injury sustained by leading rusher Willie Parker. Willie Parker's season ended after his first carry, and the Pittsburgh Steelers will miss the NFL's leading rusher if they get to the playoffs. But they don't miss him yet.

Najeh Davenport, a career backup running back with typical non-descript statistics, has two huge games since entering the league as a fourth-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2002. Both have come against the St. Louis Rams, with Davenport's three-touchdown, 123-yard rushing effort pacing a 41-24 victory on Thursday night.

Parker, who has 1,316 yards, limped off the field with a broken bone in his lower right leg in the first quarter after only one carry for minus-1 yard. Davenport eased any worries with a game that rivaled his 178-yard effort for the Packers against the Rams, in a 45-17 Monday Night victory in 2004. He was filling in for Ahman Green at the time. The Steelers are lucky to have such a good backup running back, as Willie Parker's injury could really effect them in the playoffs, if they make it in.

The Steelers, 8-8 last season, can clinch the division with a Cleveland loss at Cincinnati on Sunday. They also can clinch a playoff berth if the Titans lose to the Jets.

It must be a curse to be a leading rusher this season. First, Ronnie Brown gets injured very early in the season and was out for the rest of the year. Then Adrian Peterson, who was the hottest running back in the league at one point, was injured and has produced mediocre numbers the past few weeks. Now, Willie Parker, who entered the game leading the league in rushing yards, will be out if the Steelers make the playoffs.

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