The Pittsburgh Steelers earned an important Monday Night Football win against the rival Cincinnati Bengals thanks to the all-around game of former Illini running back Rashard Mendenhall (#34).

Pro-Style Pigskins: Week Nine Edition of Illinois Fighting Illini in the NFL

Here is the weekly review of how former Illini fared in the NFL on this past Sunday and Monday.

San Diego Chargers 29, Houston Texans 23

Safety Eugene Wilson and Kicker Neil Rackers

Wilson had 3 tackles and 2 assists but Houston (4-4) dropped its second straight game as Philip Rivers threw for 4 touchdowns and 295 yards for San Diego (4-5).

Rackers racked up 11 points, going perfect on 2 extra point attempts and 3 field goal attempts.

Minnesota Vikings 27, Arizona Cardinals 24

Linebacker Will Davis vs. Wide Receiver Greg Lewis

Due to some fourth-quarter heroics, Brett Favre helped the Vikings (3-5) force overtime and eventually avoid what could have been not only a disastrous loss for a talented Minnesota squad but the final straw for beleaguered head coach Brad Childress.

In victory, Lewis was much more involved in the Minnesota offense, catching 4 passes for 30 yards.

Davis had 1 tackle and 1 assist for the Cardinals (3-5).

New Orleans Saints 34, Carolina Panthers 3

Running Back Pierre Thomas and Linebacker Danny Clark

While Thomas missed another game due to injury, quarterback Drew Brees and the New Orleans’ offense returned to form against the hapless Panthers (1-7).

And I really thought Jimmy Clausen was going to turn things around in Carolina? :-)

Unheralded but steady, Clark had 4 tackles and 1 assist for the victorious Saints (6-3).

Cleveland Browns 34, New England Patriots 14

Offensive Lineman Tony Pashos

While Pashos is out for the season for Cleveland, the Browns (3-5) rushed all over the Patriots (6-2), with Peyton Hillis carrying the rock 29 times for 184 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Cleveland has now won two straight under rookie quarterback Colt McCoy.

Atlanta Falcons 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21

Wide Receiver Arrelious “Rejus” Benn

While Tampa Bay (5-3) fell in Atlanta (6-2), Benn continued to make contributions as a rookie, catching only 1 pass but scoring on the play.

In addition to his 14-yard touchdown reception, Benn also ran once for 4 yards.

Baltimore Ravens 26, Miami Dolphins 10

Cornerback Vontae Davis

Davis had 4 tackles, 3 assists and 1 pass defended but the Dolphins (4-4) couldn’t rattle steady quarterback Joe Flacco, who was 20-27 for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Ravens (6-2).

New York Jets 23, Detroit Lions 20

Punter Steve Weatherford, Offensive Lineman Brandon Moore and Tight End Jeff Cumberland

The Jets (6-2) needed a last-second field goal from Nick Folk, with the hold by Weatherford, to force overtime, where Folk officially defeated the Lions (2-6), with another hold from Weatherford.

In terms of his actual punting, Weatherford booted 7 punts, including a long of 53 yards, for a 42.1 yards average.

New York rushed for 110 yards on 30 carries (3.7 yards per carry) behind Moore and the rest of the offensive line.

Cumberland was inactive yet again.

New York Giants 41, Seattle Seahawks 7

Offensive Lineman David Diehl

Are you smelling an all New York Super Bowl?

While this is not going to happen, the Giants (6-2) are playing great football, as evidenced during their trouncing of the Seahawks (4-4).

Behind Diehl and the rest of the New York offensive line, the Giants were able to rip off 197 yards on 47 rushes (4.2 yards average).

Philadelphia Eagles 26, Indianapolis Colts 24

Cornerback Kelvin Hayden

Michael Vick and the Eagles (5-3) bested Peyton Manning and the Colts (5-3) in Philadelphia, with Hayden registering 2 tackles and 1 pass defended, and nearly picking off a Vick pass at one point in the game.

Oakland Raiders 23, Kansas City Chiefs 20

Offensive Lineman Jon Asamoah

With the overtime victory over the hated Chiefs (5-3), the Raiders (5-4) are actually over .500.

Ryan Lilja returned to the Kansas City offensive line, thus sending the rookie Asamoah back to the bench after making his first start in week eight.

Green Bay Packers 45, Dallas Cowboys 7

Cornerback Alan Ball and Defensive Lineman Josh Brent

The Cowboys (1-7) were so miserable during a Sunday Night Football shellacking by the Packers (6-3) that head coach Wade Phillips was fired on Monday.

Ball had ½ a sack while Brent did not make the stat line for Dallas.

Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Cincinnati Bengals 21

Running Back Rashard Mendenhall

The Steelers (6-2) held on for the Monday Night Football road victory against the Bengals (2-6), with Mendenhall having a fine game during the win.

Mendenhall fell just short of 100 yards, carrying the ball 22 times for 99 yards, but scored a rushing touchdown.

He also caught 3 passes for 31 yards.

Week Nine Byes

● Denver Broncos (Wide Receiver Brandon Lloyd)

● St. Louis Rams (Tight End Michael Hoomanawanui, Fullback Brit Miller)

● Jacksonville Jaguars (None)

● San Francisco 49ers (None)

● Tennessee Titans (None)

● Washington Redskins (None)

Until Week Ten.

Tags: Alan Ball Arrelious "Rejus" Benn Arrelious Benn Brad Childress Brandon Lloyd Brandon Moore Brett Favre Brit Miller Colt McCoy Danny Clark David Diehl Drew Brees Eugene Wilson Greg Lewis Jeff Cumberland Jimmy Clausen Joe Flacco Jon Asamoah Josh Brent Kelvin Hayden Michael Hoomanawanui Michael Vick Neil Rackers Nick Folk Peyton Hillis Peyton Manning Philip Rivers Pierre Thomas Rashard Mendenhall Rejus Benn Ryan Lilja Steve Weatherford Tony Pashos Vontae Daivs Wade Philips Wade Phillips Will Davis

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