View Full Version : Parker's struggles ground Steelers

09-23-2008, 05:43 AM
Parker's struggles ground Steelers
By John Harris
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The nine sacks and indelible images of Ben Roethlisberger repeatedly picking himself up off the turf were nothing but window dressing for what really went wrong for the Steelers on Sunday.

Without a legitimate rushing attack to ease the load on his sore passing shoulder, Roethlisberger and the Steelers' offense fizzled in a 15-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

For Roethlisberger to have a big day, the Steelers needed to establish running back Willie Parker's presence early.

On his first carry, Parker lost a yard. On his second carry, Parker lost another yard. Parker gained 6 yards on his third carry. On his fourth carry of the Steelers' first possession, Parker lost a yard.

Parker's first four rushes for a combined 3 yards represented nearly one-third of his 13 carrries against the Eagles. Parker's lack of success running the ball irrevocably altered the Steelers' game plan, changing their focus to a passing game that failed because the offensive line couldn't protect Roethlisberger.

"When the run doesn't go, everything is a disaster," Parker said.

On their 11 first-down plays in the first half, the Steelers' coaching staff called nine passes on what is traditionally a running down. Roethlisberger completed 4 of 5 passes for 39 yards with one interception. On the other four pass plays on first down in the first half, Roethlisberger was sacked.

When the Eagles stopped Parker, they effectively took the ball out of Roethlisberger's hands.

"Everything flows together," Parker said. "We didn't run the ball well at all. I think if we could have got the running game going we could have done a lot of other stuff."

Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Johnson set his game plan on a hunch that he expected Roethlisberger to come out throwing.

"I know they like to run Parker, but we anticipated that a little bit, and we probably worked more on (defending) the passing game than the running game," Johnson said.

Parker, who opened the season with back-to-back 100-yard games, couldn't locate running lanes against a defense designed to stop the pass first and the run second.

The Eagles consider Parker an outside runner, so Johnson concentrated on taking away his speed and forcing him inside. Parker's longest run was 8 yards.

"We felt that we had to shut him down on the edges," said Johnson, revealing his game plan for Parker. "As far as getting outside, we did a good job with that."

Kill the run, and the pass will follow. The Steelers learned that lesson against Philadelphia the hard way.


09-23-2008, 04:41 PM
No, for anyone to have a big day, it starts with the big fellas up front. To say Parker struggles is nonesense. He only struggles when the O-line plays below-adequete. That's all he and Ben need; just adequete.

Unfortunately against Philly, they went too far below that line and we lost.

I've said this since the playoff loss last season. IF the offensive line can play adequete football, we'll do big things.

That's all. Sacks will happen. Probably a lot of them. But, again, that's all we need and we're in the running for EVERY single game on the schedule.

09-23-2008, 04:45 PM
The pass and the run come with protection and blocking from the line.........THERE WAS NONE

09-23-2008, 04:48 PM
I've said it before and I'll say it again. The success of an offense largely depends on the success of its OL. No blocking, no holes, no running game. It's as simple as that.

Avoid LLoyd1975
09-24-2008, 10:09 AM
What run plays? Tomlin/Arians never even tried to establish the run. This guy is a joke. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

09-24-2008, 10:18 AM
You can't establish a run game when the offensive line can't block. The only run play that was working were the draws and you can't run them all game.

Second i feel Parker only got 13 carries due to his lingering knee injury and after the third quarter we were playing catch up throwing the ball all downs.

09-24-2008, 10:32 AM
its tough to run the football when as soon as Ben hikes it there are 1-2 defenders unblocked reaady to pounce on him and/or Willie. Our running game got stuffed early and there was no hope for us to establish it until our passing game got going, which it never did, due to the horrendous offensive line.

09-24-2008, 10:39 AM
I agree with the majority here....if there's no blocking up front, there's no run or pass game. The sooner the O-line realizes that, the better.

Also, I love FWP like crazy, but he seems to try to create holes up the middle when there aren't any. Parker is NOT a power back like Bettis; his strength is cutting to the outside. JMHO

09-24-2008, 11:21 AM
it is kind hard to run the ball when the line is getting pushed back on evry play