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fordfixer
10-20-2009, 02:42 AM
On the Steelers: Offense no longer plays second fiddle
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09293/1006804-66.stm

Long holding a back seat to its superb defense, the Steelers' offense has moved to the front, and it may be the start of something Pittsburgh has not seen in quite some time.

One thing it never has seen: No Steelers team has ever led the NFL in passing at the end of a season, at least not since the 1970 merger between the AFL and NFL. Their highest ranking came in 1979, their fourth Super Bowl season, when they finished second in passing, second in rushing and first overall, the only time their offense finished on top in yardage.

Today, the Steelers' passing game ranks second in the NFL only to the Indianapolis Colts. They rank fifth in total yards. They averaged 296.7 yards passing per game and 403.7 in total offense.

And we might not have seen anything yet because their running game is taking shape after faltering early.

"We definitely have the ability to do both and do both very well," said tight end Heath Miller. "I think our goal as an offense should be to reach our full potential because I feel like the bar should be pretty high if we're able to get there."

Get there? That offense already has climbed to new heights.

Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward lead the NFL in passing and receiving. Roethlisberger's 1,887 yards passing are 77 more than Houston's Matt Schaub, although Peyton Manning had the day off and averages more per game with 1,645.

Ward's 599 yards receiving are 27 more than Houston's Andre Johnson, and that's not little-ball Ward has been playing. At 33 years old, he has a healthy 14.6 yards per catch. Compare that to Arizona's big-play Larry Fitzgerald, who averages 10.3 yards on 35 receptions.

The only tight end with more catches than Miller's 34 is Dallas Clark of Indianapolis with 35.

Sunday, Bruce Arians gave Roethlisberger more chances to run the no-huddle, which is fast becoming a staple. Roethlisberger often calls his own plays in those situations.

"Well, it's fun," Roethlisberger said. "I think if you ask the receivers, they like it. Two guys had over 100 yards, Heath had a bunch of yards, the backs are getting the balls. Everybody's getting touches, so I think they like it as well."

Even the defense sees no problem with that style of offense. In the past, defenders enjoyed the luxury of resting on the sideline as their offense consumed time by running the ball. It kept them fresh.

But they still are winning the time of possession by a large margin. They had the ball for 36 minutes, 46 seconds Sunday compared to Cleveland's 23:14, and, for the season, they average 33:53 to their opponents' 26:07.

"It helps a lot," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "When we're watching those guys work and resting, we enjoy it. They're playing good ball right now. I think they have a lot of continuity, they trust each other, they know what they're doing and they have playmakers.

"Ben's playing as good as anyone right now. Keep the ball in his hands, we'll be OK."

And this is no West Coast dink-and-dunk affair. Roethlisberger's 9.1 yards per attempt leads the NFL.

The Steelers did not score the points to match the most yards they have produced in a game in 14 years Sunday (543) because they lost three fumbles, had one pass intercepted and had a touchdown pass overturned by a convoluted rule. Yet Arians liked what he saw otherwise.

"The points didn't match the performance,"' Arians acknowledged. "We put it all together, we can be pretty doggone good.

"As well as we blocked the blitz -- because we caught them in a lot of blitzes -- we knew we would get guys running free and the guys held them out of there, and Ben found the guys quickly and got the ball to them. I didn't think we'd get that many, but we matched it up pretty good at times."

Arians said Roethlisberger has taken control in many ways. They used the no-huddle a lot in the second quarter and, at halftime, they decided to go back to Arians calling the plays -- until Cleveland scored to cut the lead to three early in the second half.

"When they scored, I looked at him and said 'I don't know, maybe we want to stay up-tempo,' and he said, 'you call this one, and we'll see what happens.'

"I love the relationship because I have no qualms about saying let's go, because he can slow it down, he can speed it up, he knows what he wants. And he knows when to get himself back in the shotgun. He's playing extremely, extremely high right now."

Higher than anyone has seen in a long time here.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09293/10 ... z0USKXJ7EP (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09293/1006804-66.stm#ixzz0USKXJ7EP)

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
10-20-2009, 08:43 AM
It is very unlikely that we will finish at the top in offense - especially passing. We have yet to see the snow of December at Heinz Field with the matching rain, slush, and turf decay.

The reality of the situation is - and for some reason the talking heads never take this into consideration - that all teams in the NFL have differing circumstances when it comes to statistics. Weather helps us when it comes to the important stat - wins, but it makes it more difficult to put up big yardage along the way. On the flip side, it probably helps our cause on the defensive side of the ball. It is quite an advantage for our D when a team from a warm weather climate comes to Pittsburgh and must battle the elements along with our ferocious D.

If this offense is still putting up better numbers by seasons end than guys like Favre, Brees, and Manning (quick, what do all three of these QBs have in common?) then it will be truly special and rightfully earned.

JTP53609
10-20-2009, 09:14 AM
It is very unlikely that we will finish at the top in offense - especially passing. We have yet to see the snow of December at Heinz Field with the matching rain, slush, and turf decay.

The reality of the situation is - and for some reason the talking heads never take this into consideration - that all teams in the NFL have differing circumstances when it comes to statistics. Weather helps us when it comes to the important stat - wins, but it makes it more difficult to put up big yardage along the way. On the flip side, it probably helps our cause on the defensive side of the ball. It is quite an advantage for our D when a team from a warm weather climate comes to Pittsburgh and must battle the elements along with our ferocious D.

If this offense is still putting up better numbers by seasons end than guys like Favre, Brees, and Manning (quick, what do all three of these QBs have in common?) then it will be truly special and rightfully earned.

well our home games in december are the raiders, packer and ravens, the raiders will be an obvious advantage, but the packers and ravens are no strangers to cold games...

IMO our offense will only get better, i think mendenhall will only improve, we have parker to change the pace and moore is one of the best third down backs in the leauge, have not even gotten to the receivers and tight ends yet, i dont think we will be putting up 500 yds of offense, but i do think this is the most talent we have had on the offensive side of the ball in some years...

flippy
10-20-2009, 09:36 AM
the points don't match the production.

this thing is about to blow up.

we're gonna smoke minny and denver and everyone will start noticing....

Oviedo
10-20-2009, 10:19 AM
For all the grief that he gets, you need to give Arians credit for this offense becoming what it was. He made some hard choices to completely change the way the Steelers offense operated and I think he did so knowingly that we needed to take advanatage of the rule changes that gave passing teams an advantage over their opponents. He also saw how dominant the Pats were with a very average running game.

Traditionalists may not like the changes he made but they are now beginning to bear fruit because Tomlin did not panic like many fans and has let this transition continue to run its course. Our best weapons are primarily in the passing game and we are now really starting to utilize them. The handwriting was on the wall when we gave Big Ben $102M. That wasn't given to him to hand off the ball 30 times per game and it should have been obvious to anyone who was paying attention.

Northern_Blitz
10-20-2009, 10:48 AM
I hope we don't finish first in passing. IMO this would mean one of more of the following are true:

1. We are behind too often in games.
2. We don't believe that we can hold a lead.
3. We are running up the score once we've already handily won.

Also, didn't they make a big deal about how the passing leader's team has never won the Super Bowl in that season when Marsha and Co. lost to the Giants? I'll take wins over stats.

JTP53609
10-20-2009, 11:01 AM
I hope we don't finish first in passing. IMO this would mean one of more of the following are true:

1. We are behind too often in games.
2. We don't believe that we can hold a lead.
3. We are running up the score once we've already handily won.

Also, didn't they make a big deal about how the passing leader's team has never won the Super Bowl in that season when Marsha and Co. lost to the Giants? I'll take wins over stats.


look no further than 2003

ikestops85
10-20-2009, 11:12 AM
I hope we don't finish first in passing. IMO this would mean one of more of the following are true:

1. We are behind too often in games.
2. We don't believe that we can hold a lead.
3. We are running up the score once we've already handily won.

Also, didn't they make a big deal about how the passing leader's team has never won the Super Bowl in that season when Marsha and Co. lost to the Giants? I'll take wins over stats.

I don't think we have to worry about number 3. For some reason we don't like to win handily. They like to keep the Steeler Nation's heart beating 150 times a minute. I'm covered with sweat just watching a Steeler game.

RuthlessBurgher
10-20-2009, 01:40 PM
Favre, Brees, and Manning (quick, what do all three of these QBs have in common?)

http://www.worldstadiums.com/stadium_pictures/north_america/united_states/minnesota/minneapolis_metrodome1.jpg http://www.worldstadiums.com/stadium_pictures/north_america/united_states/louisiana/new_orleans_superdome1.jpg http://www.worldstadiums.com/stadium_pictures/north_america/united_states/indiana/indianapolis_oil1.jpg

JTP53609
10-20-2009, 01:43 PM
that indy stadium looks so tiny from the outside but it is big inside....it almost looks like a big church from the one outside angle..

RuthlessBurgher
10-20-2009, 01:44 PM
that indy stadium looks so tiny from the outside but it is big inside....it almost looks like a big church from the one outside angle..

St. Peyton's Cathedral.

Oviedo
10-20-2009, 01:46 PM
Favre, Brees, and Manning (quick, what do all three of these QBs have in common?)

http://www.worldstadiums.com/stadium_pictures/north_america/united_states/minnesota/minneapolis_metrodome1.jpg http://www.worldstadiums.com/stadium_pictures/north_america/united_states/louisiana/new_orleans_superdome1.jpg http://www.worldstadiums.com/stadium_pictures/north_america/united_states/indiana/indianapolis_oil1.jpg

Let's hope for wet, 30 degrees and windy on Sunday. If not, the Vikings will be tough to stop and their defense is the best we will face all season.