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A Souper Sunday
Austin Murphy
January 13, 1997
The Steelers were in a fog against the Patriots, who beat them at their own game
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January 13, 1997

A Souper Sunday

The Steelers were in a fog against the Patriots, who beat them at their own game

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New England made effective use of the long ball against the Steelers. Mindful of Pittsburgh cornerback Rod Woodson's hyperaggressive style, Bledsoe had suggested opening the game with a play-action bomb to speedy wideout Terry Glenn, who :aught an NFL rookie-record 90 passes in the regular season. After resisting the notion at first, Parcells came around. The Patriots' first play from scrimmage, a 53-yard completion to Glenn, set up the first of Martin's three rushing touchdowns.

Odd thing about Martin: He has been a happier player this season even as his role in the offense has shrunk. Last season he rushed for 1,487 yards, was selected NFL Rookie of the Year and made the Pro Bowl. And we won six games," he says. This season, with Bledsoe throwing so often to Glenn, Martin's rushing yardage dipped to 1,152. "And we're one game from the Super Bowl," he says. "I couldn't be happier."

After New England chose him in the third round of the 1995 draft, Martin asked for number 29, which he had worn at Pittsburgh's Allderdice High and the University of Pittsburgh. But that number belonged to cornerback Myron Guyton, so Martin took number 28. When he mentioned the switch to his pastor, Leroy Joseph of Pittsburgh's Faith Restoration Ministry, the pastor exclaimed, "Deuteronomy 28!"

Martin has marked that chapter with a yellow highlighter in his Bible, and he reads it before games. Sitting in one of the coaches' offices an hour after Sunday's victory, he read from it again, this time aloud. "The enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you in one direction but flee from you in seven."

While Martin immerses himself in the Book of Deuteronomy on Sunday, other Patriots will be concentrating on Hail Marys.

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