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fordfixer
10-03-2009, 11:03 PM
Were the Steelers Too Predictable?
Posted Sep 29, 2009 8:25AM By JJ COOPER
Filed Under: Steelers, AFC North
http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2009/09/29/did- ... -too-long/ (http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2009/09/29/did-the-steelers-stick-with-the-run-too-long/)

In the past two weeks, the once-dead Steelers running game has shown slight improvement. Even with Rashard Mendenhall benched for disciplinary reasons, Pittsburgh was able to gash the Bengals for some solid gains in the first half.

But when the Steelers tried to hang on to their lead in the second half, it's fair to ask if offensive coordinator Bruce Arians offense got a little too predictable.

In the first half, Pittsburgh ran the ball seven times and threw the ball six times on first down. One of those passes was the 27-yard touchdown pass to Willie Parker and another was the 51-yard bomb to Mike Wallace. In all, Ben Roethlisberger completed four of the six passes for 91 yards on first down. The running game worked as well, as Parker gained 23 yards on seven carries. Three of the seven carries went for four yards or more.

In the second half that balance went away. Roethlisberger connected on a five-yard pass to Heath Miller on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. But on the Steelers next eight first downs, Arians called only one pass play. Pittsburgh did attempt a pass on the final first down of the game as well--but that ws a hail mary pass on the final play of the game.

Here's the second half breakdown:

Down-Distance Pass/Run Play Yards
1-10-29 Pass Roethlisberger-Miller 5
1-10-25 Run Parker RT 1
1-10-38 Run Parker RT 2
1-10-39 Run Parker LE -2
1-10-23 Pass Roethlisberger-Parker 9
1-G-4 Run Parker RG 3
1-10-42 Run Parker LG 3
1-10-27 Run Parker LG 0
1-10-38 Run Parker RG 3
1-10-34 Pass Roethlisberger inc 0

That's seven runs, none of which went further than three yards. That's a lot of second and eights, nines and 10s, which explains why the Steelers had 11 first downs and 258 yards in the first half and 115 yards and six first downs in the second half. The offensive line is playing better and Parker had his best game of the season on Sunday, but this Steelers team is still reliant more than anything on its passing game.