Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Ryan Clark had to wait an extra week to make his 2012 season debut, but he certainly made his presence felt in the Sunday home opener win against the New York Jets.
Clark, who was forced to sit out the season opener last Sunday night in the Mile High City because of his sickle cell trait, led the Steelers defense Sunday in tackles with 8. In addition, Clark had a key pass defensed against Jets rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill and registered 1 official quarterback pressure in the game.
If that wasn\’t enough, Clark also had a big hit on former Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes to separate him from the ball, even though cornerback Ike Taylor was flagged wrongfully on the play for a pass interference. Clark suffered a stinger on the hit, but returned to the game after missing just one snap.
Clark led the Steelers defense in tackles last year with 100 and is now well on his way to equaling or surpassing that mark this season.
As good of a day as Clark had, he wasn\’t without fault, as he bit on the play action fake that resulted in Holmes scoring the Jets only touchdown of the day as he was the inside help on the play for Taylor.
“I tried to do too much. That was totally my fault,” Clark said about the touchdown after the game.
Sunday made it two weeks in a row to start the season that the Steelers were missing a starting safety in the lineup. Last week it was Clark and this week it was his best friend Troy Polamalu, who missed the game because of a strained left calf suffered in Denver.
Ryan Mundy started in place of Polamalu and worked well enough alongside Clark to ease the burden of the loss of the All-Pro strong safety.
The Jets only had 228 yards of offense on the day and a lot of that credit goes to Clark. It was a great first game of the season for him as he was certainly all over the place.