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Elvis
01-03-2008, 12:29 PM
Enjoy...
It's January. It's Pittsburgh. It's playoff football. That means run, run and run some more.
Or does it?
The Steelers' running offense again ranked among the best in the National Football League at No. 3. Since the NFL merged with the AFL in 1970, no team has come close to running as often with as much success as the Steelers. The Steelers have 82,217 rushing yards since the NFL merger. Dallas is next with 77,061.
Therefore, don't be surprised Saturday night if the Steelers come out throwing, putting their fate against Jacksonville on the right arm of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
"It would be nice," Roethlisberger said. "We'll see what happens."
The Steelers might have little choice. Willie Parker, leading the NFL in rushing after 14 games, is not an option after breaking his leg in the 15th game of the season at St. Louis. Parker helped spur a Steelers comeback Dec. 16 against Jacksonville with runs of 13 and 27 yards on an 84-yard drive that tied the score, 22-22, in the fourth quarter.
Najeh Davenport replaced the injured Parker in St. Louis and ran for 123 yards. In Baltimore last week, though, Davenport managed only 27 yards on 12 carries.
Roethlisberger and his passing game could be the answer for what ails the Steelers on the ground.
"I think he's proven he's capable of doing that," guard Alan Faneca said. "There's no problem with doing that from the way he's performed and what he's shown he's capable of doing."
For reference, there is 2005, when the Steelers were fifth in the NFL running and 24th passing. They played at Indianapolis in the second round of the playoffs, and it was virtually assumed they would run the ball to try to keep it away from Peyton Manning.
Roethlisberger opened the game by completing six of seven passes in a 10-play drive that staked the Steelers to a 7-0 lead. His second touchdown pass of the first quarter put them ahead, 14-0, on the way to a stunning 21-18 victory.
They took a similar approach the following week in the AFC title game in Denver. Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes in the first half as part of 17 pass attempts and one sack and just 13 runs by Parker and Jerome Bettis. The Steelers led, 24-3, at halftime on the way to a 34-17 victory.
There's a track record, and this time Roethlisberger has two more years of experience and had a better overall season. For the record, their passing game ranked 22nd this season, mainly because they did not throw it much.
"Everybody looks at the Pittsburgh Steelers as a running, physical, hard-nosed team," receiver Nate Washington said. "Of course, people are going to look at us and think we're going to run the ball all the time. They fail to realize we have plenty of great receivers on this team that can get the job done."
Washington enters the game on a positive note, having caught three of his five touchdown receptions the past three games. Hines Ward is rested and healthy and has been as big a big-game player as they've had the past 20 years. Santonio Holmes led the team with eight touchdown catches, and his 18.1-yard average per catch is the best in the NFL among the top 50 yardage leaders.
Roethlisberger had problems as a rookie in his first two playoff games, at home against the Jets and Patriots in 2005. He's 4-0 in the postseason since then, and he was the major reason the Steelers reached Super Bowl XL. He's their best hope of getting past Jacksonville.
"I definitely think it helps him out having that experience of going through the good and bad times," Ward said. "He's definitely grown from it and, hopefully, he can go out there and continue to play well and lead us to a win."
Heath Miller did not see the rookie Roethlisberger but he's seen him grow the past three seasons.
"I feel like he's more confident," Miller said. "He knows this is his show and he's running it, and the guys in this locker room know it's his show."
It's showtime again.
Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac provide their weekly video installment of "Steelers Report" as Saturday's playoff game nears, only at www.post-gazette.com (http://www.post-gazette.com/)
First published on January 3, 2008 at 12:00 am

CanadianSteel
01-03-2008, 12:43 PM
This is a great article - now I am pumped for Saturday night...
We may be decimated by injuries but Big Ben is the man and can lead us to victory.
Quit focussing on the negative, we have a primetime playoff game at home on a Saturday night with a chance to redeem ourselves....
Here we go Steelers....

19ward86
01-03-2008, 03:16 PM
i got too bored to read through all of it, good article im just way too tired right now. i think that the way they say it is that we SHOULD run it, when we played Indy we had the bus and willie and now we have dookie and russel. we have a better qb, in a way. we should run because they will think we will pass because we passed in Indy, how many did i lose when i said that? reverse psychology.

steelers dynasty
01-03-2008, 04:07 PM
i like that article but i think most of these people are forgetting that big ben is second ranked qb when it comes to qb ratings. i have all the confidence in the world in ben. also our receivers are maturing so i think we have a better chance passing the ball. another thing i think davenport will do good because we never really did have a good running game against the rat birds, last game against the ravens willie had 23 carries for only 42 yards.
GET READY BOYS TIME TO KICK SOME JAGUARS ASSES

Elvis
01-04-2008, 10:44 AM
:jawdrop: I guess with all the injuries that we have experienced the last few weeks we should just roll this game up in a pretty pink ribbon and give it to the Jaguars right?...
I dont think so!!!
I think that the rest of the Steelers team should show up saturday night and play like they are paid to do. They are paid good $$$$ to get out there and play their hardest and earn that $$$. We still have the 3rd ranked QB in the NFL and Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes and Heath Miller.. which I think should still be more involved in our offense.. Najeh Davenport is getting paid good $$ as well.. its time for the youngsters like Russell to get out here and make some noise and run hard!!!
OUR DEFENSE MUST STEP UP AND DO THEIR JOBS AS WELL!!!!!!!

SteelersMongol
01-04-2008, 07:45 PM
What the ...? Aren't V supposed 2 stay away from the press as much as possible? Aren't V suppose 2 try our best 2 not have them mess with our heads & trick us into stupid questions? V should b worrying about how 2 win & do some studying instead listening them reporters telling us the past facts.