He gathered in the kick near his end zone and started to his left. Allen Rossum spied a huge opening to his right and flashed through it.
Not one 49ers player touched Rossum during his 98-yard kickoff return, which resulted in a touchdown and limited the only time the Steelers have trailed this season to 12 seconds.
Untouched is pretty much what the Steelers are after they won another game they were supposed to win and again did so in impressive fashion. The Steelers improved to 3-0 Sunday with a 37- 16 thumping of San Francisco in front of 64,313 at Heinz Field.
The Steelers' special teams and defense excelled on a gorgeous, sunny day, as did an offense that took a while to get going.
Behind Willie Parker's fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing game - - the Pro Bowler gained 133 yards on 24 carries -- the Steelers pounded out 205 yards on the ground. Ben Roethlisberger turned in another efficient performance, completing 13 of 20 passes for 160 yards and connecting on some key throws after eluding the 49ers' rush.
San Francisco's highly regarded cornerbacks took the Steelers' wide receivers out of the game for the most part. The tight ends filled the void, with Heath Miller catching four passes for a game- high 82 yards and Jerame Tuman hauling in Roethlisberger's only touchdown pass.
Hines Ward caught just one pass for 2 yards, and the four-time Pro Bowler sustained a bone bruise on his leg. He left the field a couple of minutes before the game ended and exited the stadium without talking to reporters.
That qualified as the bad news of the day after the Steelers improved to 3-0 for the first time since 1992, when they had a rookie coach named Bill Cowher.
"We're starting to show some personality," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said, "and that's what excited me."
The Steelers haven't been tested in the Tomlin era, though that could change this Sunday, since they have to travel across the country to play the team (Arizona) that is coached by former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.
Unlike in the previous two weeks, warm weather wasn't the only thing that made the Steelers sweat a little yesterday.