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hawaiiansteel
09-26-2011, 01:19 AM
Kovacevic: Steelers have nowhere to run

By Dejan Kovacevic, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, September 26, 2011


INDIANAPOLIS — At least some of the shrapnel from the Steelers' season-opening implosion in Baltimore has begun to reassemble. It's scattershot, but it's there.

That old defense finally found its first turnover thanks to James Harrison and Troy Polamalu, even if LaMarr Woodley and others were nowhere to be seen. Ben Roethlisberger has found another notch to his throwing, even if some decisions continue to be suspect. And Mike Wallace has amazingly found a path to make his fantasy of 2,000 receiving yards come true.

The pieces, if not always the whole, have shown promise. But as this fabulously flawed 23-20 victory over the Peyton-free Indianapolis Colts illustrated Sunday night, the glue has gone missing.

And that glue, from this vantage point high atop Lucas Oil Stadium, looked a lot like a running game.

Yeah, I know ... what running game?

Rashard Mendenhall carried 18 times for 37 yards, a meager average of 2.1 per attempt. Mewelde Moore added nine yards, Isaac Redman six, and the Steelers as a whole rushed for a whopping 67. Through three games, Mendenhall has a total of 148 yards and a single touchdown.

That's ridiculous.

And anyone thinking the Steelers can return to this same stadium for Super Bowl XLVI without some trace of a running game is deluding themselves.

"It was tough sledding out there," Mendenhall told me with a slight head shake. "We're going to need to run at some point, so it's something we're going to need to work on. I know we can, too."

No, I'm not partaking in the prehistoric notion that they need to play "Steelers football," either. I know this team doesn't have a Jerome Bettis, I know the line is awful, and I know the don't-touch-anyone NFL has become a passing league. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has every reason to think pass first.

But here's a sample of what happens when you won't or can't run at all: Of the Steelers' 16 third-down plays, 12 were third-and-7 or longer. Five of the latter were converted because of good passes by Roethlisberger, but five were incompletions, and two others resulted in sacks and lost fumbles that led to points for Indianapolis.

The Colts knew what was coming and adjusted.

The same Colts who had allowed an average of 136 yards through their first two losses, fourth-highest in the NFL.

The Steelers are trying to build a champion, not just slip past last-place teams. They need to run the ball to get better at it. And they can run the ball. Lest we forget, Mendenhall rushed for 1,273 yards last season.

What they can't do, to this point, is block for the run. It didn't help that right tackle Marcus Gilbert and guard Doug Legursky left with shoulder injuries, but left tackle Jonathan Scott was a revolving door and penalty machine, and the rest fared little better. Symbolic of the evening was a first-quarter play in which Mendenhall arrived at the line all-out, only to be flattened by Indianapolis linebacker Pat Angerer.

I don't care if Max Starks and Flozell Adams spent their summers consuming corn dogs and sundaes. Someone give them a call.

Funny thing is, to hear the Steelers leading up to the game, blocking for the run was very much the plan.

"It's very, very, very important," guard Ramon Foster said Wednesday. "If any team gets you in a long down and distance, you're in for a long night. A team like Indy, they've got two guys over there capable of limiting the run and getting their sacks. If we get them into short yardage, we can open up our playbook a little more."

Foster was referring, of course, to Indianapolis' outstanding defensive ends, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, who ran roughshod over the Steelers' line.

"It opens a lot of doors for us if we can run," Legursky had said. "If we can get Rashard going, it brings those defensive backs in a little tighter, it gets our passing game going, our run-action stuff going. That's true for every team, but I think it's even more important for us with how many weapons we have to the outside."

At the same time, the Steelers also thought they were doing just fine. Legursky dismissed their running issues as "just a couple of execution things on the goal-line package," and Roethlisberger said he was "not concerned."

Anyone concerned now?

The Steelers must correct this, either through strategy or personnel, probably the latter. Running is no longer the way in the NFL, but neither is it optional.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1Z1clqB8i (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_758729.html#ixzz1Z1clqB8i)

hawaiiansteel
09-26-2011, 01:45 AM
Steelers look ugly in close win

MONDAY, 26 SEPTEMBER 2011
WRITTEN BY BOB SMIZIK


The expected blowout of the Indianapolis Colts never materialized. The laugher expected by some, including this writer, turned into a bit of a fright.

The Steelers won last night, but if they were a stock their price would be plummeting today. It was an ugly win, 23-20, last night and for the second time this season there is reason to doubt on the pedigree of this team.

Too old? Perhaps. Not good enough? Maybe.

We’ll know lots more about the Steelers a week from now. They play the Houston Texans next Sunday in a game that will test the mettle of a defense that played well last night for most of the game but surrendered a game-tying fourth-quarter touchdown to an awful offense that was being run by a third-string quarterback.

The Steelers line, questionable, at best, this season was rocked by ineffectiveness and injury. Both starting tackles were injured -- Marcus Gilbert early and Jonathan Scott, who played a terrible game, late.

Scott started for the team that went to the Super Bowl last season but how ever the Steelers were hiding him or helping isn’t working any longer.

Two aspects of the Steelers play against the Colts were particularly alarming. They could not run the ball and, worse, they could not stop the run against a team that could not pass.

They ran 28 times for 67 yards, a 2.4 average. Rashard Mendenhall carried 18 times for 37 yards.

The Colts gained 97 yards on 21 attempts, a 4.6 average. What was particularly alarming about that statistics is the Colts offered little to fear in the passing game. Neither Kerry Collins nor Curtis Painter remotely resembled a threat.

There was a time in such circumstances that the opponent could get nothing on the ground against the Steelers.

http://communityvoices.sites.post-gazet ... -close-win (http://communityvoices.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/bob-smiziks-blog/30218-steelers-look-ugly-in-close-win)

Discipline of Steel
09-26-2011, 05:56 AM
Oh but we can just use short passes as our running game. Its the new NFL.

BTW, Mike Wallace quit showboating and tuck the ball until you cross the goal line.

papillon
09-26-2011, 06:07 AM
Oh but we can just use short passes as our running game. Its the new NFL.

BTW, Mike Wallace quit showboating and tuck the ball until you cross the goal line.

And, Antonio Brown can lose the stupid Santonio Holmes point and drop after a catch as well, at least, come up with something original.

Pappy

DukieBoy
09-26-2011, 07:06 AM
Oh but we can just use short passes as our running game. Its the new NFL.

BTW, Mike Wallace quit showboating and tuck the ball until you cross the goal line.

x2

DukieBoy
09-26-2011, 07:07 AM
Oh but we can just use short passes as our running game. Its the new NFL.

BTW, Mike Wallace quit showboating and tuck the ball until you cross the goal line.

And, Antonio Brown can lose the stupid Santonio Holmes point and drop after a catch as well, at least, come up with something original.

Pappy

x10

BradshawsHairdresser
09-26-2011, 09:03 AM
Kovacevic: Steelers have nowhere to run

By Dejan Kovacevic, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, September 26, 2011


INDIANAPOLIS — At least some of the shrapnel from the Steelers' season-opening implosion in Baltimore has begun to reassemble. It's scattershot, but it's there.

That old defense finally found its first turnover thanks to James Harrison and Troy Polamalu, even if LaMarr Woodley and others were nowhere to be seen. Ben Roethlisberger has found another notch to his throwing, even if some decisions continue to be suspect. And Mike Wallace has amazingly found a path to make his fantasy of 2,000 receiving yards come true.

The pieces, if not always the whole, have shown promise. But as this fabulously flawed 23-20 victory over the Peyton-free Indianapolis Colts illustrated Sunday night, the glue has gone missing.

And that glue, from this vantage point high atop Lucas Oil Stadium, looked a lot like a running game.

Yeah, I know ... what running game?

Rashard Mendenhall carried 18 times for 37 yards, a meager average of 2.1 per attempt. Mewelde Moore added nine yards, Isaac Redman six, and the Steelers as a whole rushed for a whopping 67. Through three games, Mendenhall has a total of 148 yards and a single touchdown.

That's ridiculous.

And anyone thinking the Steelers can return to this same stadium for Super Bowl XLVI without some trace of a running game is deluding themselves.

"It was tough sledding out there," Mendenhall told me with a slight head shake. "We're going to need to run at some point, so it's something we're going to need to work on. I know we can, too."

No, I'm not partaking in the prehistoric notion that they need to play "Steelers football," either. I know this team doesn't have a Jerome Bettis, I know the line is awful, and I know the don't-touch-anyone NFL has become a passing league. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has every reason to think pass first.

But here's a sample of what happens when you won't or can't run at all: Of the Steelers' 16 third-down plays, 12 were third-and-7 or longer. Five of the latter were converted because of good passes by Roethlisberger, but five were incompletions, and two others resulted in sacks and lost fumbles that led to points for Indianapolis.

The Colts knew what was coming and adjusted.

The same Colts who had allowed an average of 136 yards through their first two losses, fourth-highest in the NFL.

The Steelers are trying to build a champion, not just slip past last-place teams. They need to run the ball to get better at it. And they can run the ball. Lest we forget, Mendenhall rushed for 1,273 yards last season.

What they can't do, to this point, is block for the run. It didn't help that right tackle Marcus Gilbert and guard Doug Legursky left with shoulder injuries, but left tackle Jonathan Scott was a revolving door and penalty machine, and the rest fared little better. Symbolic of the evening was a first-quarter play in which Mendenhall arrived at the line all-out, only to be flattened by Indianapolis linebacker Pat Angerer.

I don't care if Max Starks and Flozell Adams spent their summers consuming corn dogs and sundaes. Someone give them a call.

Funny thing is, to hear the Steelers leading up to the game, blocking for the run was very much the plan.

"It's very, very, very important," guard Ramon Foster said Wednesday. "If any team gets you in a long down and distance, you're in for a long night. A team like Indy, they've got two guys over there capable of limiting the run and getting their sacks. If we get them into short yardage, we can open up our playbook a little more."

Foster was referring, of course, to Indianapolis' outstanding defensive ends, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, who ran roughshod over the Steelers' line.

"It opens a lot of doors for us if we can run," Legursky had said. "If we can get Rashard going, it brings those defensive backs in a little tighter, it gets our passing game going, our run-action stuff going. That's true for every team, but I think it's even more important for us with how many weapons we have to the outside."

At the same time, the Steelers also thought they were doing just fine. Legursky dismissed their running issues as "just a couple of execution things on the goal-line package," and Roethlisberger said he was "not concerned."

Anyone concerned now?

The Steelers must correct this, either through strategy or personnel, probably the latter. Running is no longer the way in the NFL, but neither is it optional.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1Z1clqB8i (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_758729.html#ixzz1Z1clqB8i)
:Clap :Clap :Clap :Clap

hawaiiansteel
09-29-2011, 02:12 AM
Steelers running game grounded

By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer dlolley@observer-reporter.com

When the Steelers opened training camp in July, the excitement surrounding the passing game was palpable.

With quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in his prime and a deep, talented group of wide receivers, the Steelers felt they had the ability to be one of the NFL's top passing offenses.

There also was the sentiment running back Rashard Mendenhall, coming off of back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, could flourish, giving the Steelers their most potent offensive attack in years.

Three weeks into the 2011 season, the Steelers rank fourth in the four-team AFC North in scoring. Even the Cincinnati Bengals, with rookie quarterback Andy Dalton starting, have outscored the Steelers, 57-54.

While the passing game has been strong, averaging 294.7 yards per game after Sunday night's 23-20 win over Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium, the running game has been largely ineffective.

http://photos.triblive.com/photos/PITT/1329253/37944393E.jpg

That point was driven home against the Colts, when the Steelers rushed for just 10 yards on 10 first-half attempts, finishing with 67 yards with an average of 2.4 yards per carry.

Mendenhall is averaging just 3.0 yards per carry and on pace to finish with 789 yards. Six individual running backs have more yards rushing than the 257 the Steelers have gained.

"Their front, they're very quick," said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin of the Colts. "They get off, and they disrupt the run with their quickness, particularly using the silent count.

"We didn't do a good enough job neutralizing it in terms of playmaking. It was tough sledding all night for the most part in that area. We've got to do better."

Things won't get much easier for the Steelers (2-1) this weekend when they travel to Houston (2-1). Three offensive linemen left the game against the Colts, the most serious of which was left tackle Jonathan Scott with an ankle injury.

Right tackle Marcus Gilbert and right guard Doug Legursky suffered shoulder injuries. Gilbert returned in the fourth quarter to replace Scott.

With only seven linemen dressed against the Colts, the Steelers were close to putting tight end David Johnson into the game as a tackle.

"Hopefully, everybody is back healthy," said center Maurkice Pouncey. "We need everybody healthy to play against the Texans."

The lack of a rushing attack has also put more pressure on Roethlisberger to carry the offense. He's thrown for 942 yards, but has just three touchdown passes and four interceptions. Roethlisberger has also been sacked nine times and has lost four fumbles, including two against the Colts.

http://photos.triblive.com/photos/PITT/1329253/37944410E.jpg

"You have to bounce back, and have a short memory," said Roethlisberger. "It's tough because on the sack/fumble you don't see the guy coming. You say protect the ball, but when you don't know a guy's there it's kind of hard. I just have to take care of it. The pick, I had a guy open, but just over threw him and that's how it goes."

On the plus side, the Steelers did find a way to pull out a victory. But they know they have to limit turnovers and find a running game moving forward.

"It looked like it was going to be a blowout, but we let their team back in, and they did a great job playing at home," said wide receiver Hines Ward. "I like the resiliency of our guys, the way they fought back until the end and take the game-winning field goal down to the end. It was encouraging."

http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/spo ... -can-t-run (http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/sports11/09-27-2011-Steelers-can-t-run)