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01-24-2011, 03:12 AM
Mendenhall shows what he can do
Monday, January 24, 2011
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 19580.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_719580.html)

Rashard Mendenhall stood on a makeshift stage at Heinz Field with Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier, the star running backs for the 1970s Super Bowl Steelers, and wondered how he got there.

"It means a lot that they asked me to come up there," Mendenhall said. "I'm looking around like, 'Why isn't Troy or Hines or somebody up here?' "

After being ripped for running laterally, for relying too heavily upon a spin move and for not being a "big-time back," Mendenhall upstaged the New York Jets in the biggest game of his NFL career. He accounted for 153 yards of total offense -- including 95 rushing and 32 receiving in the first half -- to help the Steelers to a 24-19 victory Sunday in the AFC Championship Game.

"It's one game away from the Super Bowl; who wouldn't be running the way he did?" right guard Ramon Foster said. "He did a phenomenal job of running and holding onto the ball. He was very powerful and well-deserving of the game he had."

When the Steelers needed him most, Mendenhall used all of his perceived weaknesses to his advantage. Just as easily he reversed field, the running back might have done the same to his reputation by rushing for 121 yards on 27 carries and catching two passes for 32 yards.

Mendenhall's first-half play in the home finale was almost as memorable as his overtime heroics in the season opener, when he ripped off a 50-yard touchdown run to clinch an overtime victory against Atlanta.

After Mendenhall finished with 46 rushing yards on 20 carries and lost a fumble against Baltimore in the AFC divisional playoffs last week, Sports Illustrated's Peter King ripped Mendenhall, chastising him for running laterally by saying, "Get upfield, man." King added: "I think Rashard Mendenhall, two touchdowns and all Saturday, is just not a big-time back."

"I don't get too much into that," Mendenhall said. "People are going to say good things and bad things about you. I try to keep it as normal and steady as possible."

Mendenhall was that and more in the first half, outshining Jets backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene, who combined for 5 yards on four carries and didn't catch a pass.

Mendenhall gained 28 yards on eight carries on the Steelers' first drive, bouncing outside for 2 yards to pick up a first down and then cutting inside on the next play for an 8-yard gain. He gave the Steelers a 7-0 lead by slipping through the arms of linebacker Bart Scott to score on a 1-yard run at 5:54 of the first quarter.

Mendenhall continued breaking tackles, turning a swing pass into an 18-yard gain that included the 5-foot-10, 225-pound running back bowling over safety Eric Smith, and shedding middle linebacker David Harris on a 35-yard run.

Mendenhall helped set up another scoring play with a 14-yard catch to the Jets' 2-yard line, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger ran for a touchdown on the next play for a 17-0 lead with two minutes left in the first half.

"He did his thing," center Maurkice Pouncey said. "He went out there and handled it for us. We really needed that. It was positive for us."

Read more: Mendenhall shows what he can do - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1BvzoXz7L (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_719580.html#ixzz1BvzoXz7L)

01-24-2011, 03:13 AM
Mendenhall is Digest Player of Week

By Bob Labriola - Steelers Digest

http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/ ... 005164e36b (http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Mendenhall-is-Digest-Player-of-Week/edc867b5-18db-4cd1-a6b5-77005164e36b)

Running Back

It began in the offseason with an edict from above, and following through on that helped the Steelers get where they are today, which is AFC Champions.

It was back in the spring of 2010 when Steelers President Art Rooney II said, “I think Mike (Tomlin) and I certainly agreed coming off the (2009) season that we need to run the ball more consistently to get to where we want to get to. So that’s part of the thinking in the offseason: We need to figure out how to get better running the football.”

The Steelers did a very nice job of running the football effectively on Sunday vs. the New York Jets. Their 166 yards on 43 attempts not only accounted for both of their offensive touchdowns, but it also allowed the Steelers to possess the football for nearly 35 of the game’s 60 minutes.

And when it came to the running attack vs. the Jets, Rashard Mendenhall led the way. He carried 27 times for 121 yards – a 4.5 average – and scored a touchdown in the Steelers 24-19 win over the Jets that gave them their eighth AFC Championship. Mendenhall also caught two passes for 32 more yards to give him 153 yards from scrimmage.

Mendenhall is the Steelers Digest Player of the Week.

Also considered were LaMarr Woodley, who had four tackles, two for loss, plus a sack, two pressures and a pass defensed; Lawrence Timmons, who led the team with 10 tackles and added a pass defensed; Brett Keisel, who had seven tackles, including one for loss, and a pass defensed; and Arnaz Battle, who had three tackles on special teams.