View Full Version : Running game gains some ground

09-21-2009, 07:38 AM
Steelers Notebook: Running game gains some ground
Monday, September 21, 2009
By Ron Cook and Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers finally found a bit of a running game in the second half, picking up 80 yards on 12 attempts after gaining just 25 yards on 10 carries in the first half. Rashard Mendenhall easily had the longest run of his brief NFL career -- a 39-yard gain off the right side behind nice blocks from guard Chris Kemoeatu and tight end Heath Miller -- to set up the touchdown that gave the Steelers a 14-7 lead. Willie Parker had 15- and 6-yard runs on their next drive, which would have resulted in a 17-7 lead if kicker Jeff Reed hadn't hooked his 38-yard field goal try. Parker finished with 47 yards on 14 carries. That was significant improvement from the game before against the Tennessee Titans when Parker had 19 yards on 13 carries and the Steelers had 36 yards on 23 attempts.

"I thought we were good offensively," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "We made a mistake here or there, but, overall, I think we did a good job offensively."

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin didn't seem so sure.

"The end result is the end result. I'm not going to pat myself on the back because we ran for a decent amount of yards. We lost the football game. I'd rather run for no yards and win."
Numbers game

Look for the Elias Sports Bureau, the NFL's official statisticians, to correct an error made by the Bears' statistics crew yesterday.

Tyrone Carter, who replaced ailing Troy Polamalu at strong safety, was not given credit for an obvious sack in the second quarter. Jay Cutler dropped back to pass and then scrambled and Carter stopped him for a 1-yard loss. The Bears counted it as a run from scrimmage.

The Steelers will alert Elias to the play and it will then be up to it to change it officially.

Carter seemed to be a convenient target for the Bears. But he also made his presence felt when he delivered a big hit on Bears tight end Greg Olsen on an incomplete pass in the second quarter.

Carter and Olsen were injured on the play and had to come out of the game. Both, though, returned.

"The guy did a good job," Olsen said. "He timed it up real well and got there just as the ball got there. It was a great hit."

Olsen said he did not see Carter coming.

"Actually I thought I had a touchdown," Olsen said.

Carter injured his left thigh on the play and it tightened as the game wore on. He said that's the reason he was unable to cover Bears receiver Johnny Knox on the tying touchdown.
Too late

The possibility that the Steelers, who led the AFC with 51 sacks last year, will get credited with two sacks against Cutler instead of one will do little to cheer inside linebacker James Farrior.

Farrior took the blame for not having more sacks, saying he missed several because he was just a little late getting to Cutler.

"Those weren't mental mistakes, but they felt like mistakes," said Farrior, who finished with a team-high eight solo tackles. "They're my fault."

Last-minute switch

The Steelers changed their minds on starting Lawrence Timmons at the last moment yesterday.

After indicating an hour before the game that he would start, Tomlin instead started Keyaron Fox at inside linebacker.

Timmons, who missed the opener with a high ankle sprain, did take the field on the third play of the game in the Steelers' nickel defense and played in that defense throughout. He was given three solo tackles and two pass defenses by the unofficial press box statisticians.

Timmons missed the opener with a high ankle sprain.
Frequent flier

Dan Rooney may be the U.S. ambassador to Ireland but he has yet to miss a Steelers game. He came back to the United States for this week's G-20 summit in Pittsburgh and decided to travel the extra miles to Chicago to take in his team's game against the Bears.

Rooney also attended the opener 10 days ago, flew back to Ireland and then back to Pittsburgh again over the weekend.
Behind Baltimore

The Steelers lost their first game since Dec. 21, and their first lead in the AFC North Division since one year ago today. On Sept. 21, 2008, they lost to Philadelphia to go 2-1 and Baltimore won to go 2-0.

The Ravens lost and the Steelers won the following week and the Steelers led the division the rest of the way, although they were tied with Baltimore at one point at 6-3.

Today, Baltimore is 2-0 and the Steelers and Bengals are tied 1-1 entering their game in Cincinnati next Sunday.

"It's going to be a big test for us," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "They won today, we lost. The division starts now."

The Steelers have not lost in Cincinnati since 2001.
Gold trumps steel

The Bears love their chances when a game comes down to kicker Robbie Gould, who booted the winning 44-yard field goal with 15 seconds left. He has made 14 in a row dating to last season. This was his eighth winner.

"We've called on Robbie Gould quite a few times to win the game for us and it's the same thing -- he's as good as gold," Bears coach Lovie Smith said.

Said Gould, a Penn State graduate, "You just don't think about it. You've done it so many times that it's just another kick." Maybe, but one thing never gets old for a kicker. "Any time you have your teammates storming you after a kick, it's a great feeling," he said.

above Tyrone Carter upends Bears quarterback Jay Cutler yesterday at Soldier Field in Chicago.

right Ben Roethlisberger dives for a first down in the fourth quarter.

below Santonio Holmes just misses a catch over the Bears Kevin Payne.

Gerry Dulac and Gene Collier of the Post-Gazette contributed to this report. Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com.
First published on September 21, 2009 at 12:00 am

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Mister Pittsburgh
09-21-2009, 08:55 AM
I would think it had more to do with playing a weaker defense depleted by injuries. Expect the article about the run game being back after we run on Cincy.

09-21-2009, 08:05 PM
I would think it had more to do with playing a weaker defense depleted by injuries. Expect the article about the run game being back after we run on Cincy.

Cincy's run D is only about 4 spots lower than us. And their pass D is actually by 3 spots. They are not the pushovers they were last year. We need to rattle Palmer early and often.

We could not go much lower in rushing (29th)...so any progress will look good. People looking to place blame on the loss yesterday need look no further than a lack of a run game. Three years ago on 3rd and 2 we run it up the gut, keep clock and kick the winner from the 15 yd line with 20 sec left. I understand the love for the passing game, but situations like these can make me yearn for the old days. (it is very hard to turtle in the passing game).