View Full Version : Opposing backs almost always run into trouble against Steelers defense

11-12-2009, 09:25 PM
Opposing backs almost always run into trouble against Steelers defence
By Alan Robinson (CP) 3 hours ago

PITTSBURGH The Bengals' Cedric Benson will be the latest to attempt what many NFL running backs have repeatedly failed to do: run for 100 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The timeworn expression that the season is a marathon and not a sprint? Attempting to sprint for 100 yards against the latest version of the Steel Curtain defence can be as trying and as frustrating as running a marathon.

During the last five seasons, only three backs have gained 100 yards against Pittsburgh and, counting the playoffs, no one has done it in the last 30 games. Fred Taylor of Jacksonville was the last to accomplish the feat by rushing for 147 yards in 2007, the only 100-yard game by an opposing back in Pittsburgh since 2004.

Running against a defence that allows an NFL-low 70.4 yards rushing per game usually results in a double-digit day. Sometimes, low double digits.

Three times this season, an opponent's leading rusher hasn't gained more than 29 yards.

"No matter who we're playing, it's always stop the run first," said nose tackle Casey Hampton, one of a number of experienced Pittsburgh run-stoppers.

Among the running backs who've failed to gain 100 during the 30-game streak are Adrian Peterson, LaDainian Tomlinson, Chris Johnson, Jamal Lewis, Steve Slaton, Brandon Jacobs, Steven Jackson, Clinton Portis - and Benson. Several failed multiple times.

Benson, the former Bears running back, could prove to be one of the biggest challengers to the streak when the Bengals (6-2) and Steelers (6-2) play Sunday for first place in the AFC North.

Benson has 837 yards on a league-high 198 carries, is second to Johnson (959 yards) in yardage and already has four 100-yard games, one off Cincinnati's team record. Benson has three such games in his last four, gaining 117 and 189 yards in his last two.

"He stays low, he runs the ball real low (to the ground)," Hampton said. "He just takes what you give him, he don't turn nothing down."

Benson might have had a 100-yard day when the Bengals beat the Steelers 23-20 on Sept. 27 - he had 76 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries - but Cincinnati couldn't run as much as it wanted after falling behind by 11 points in the second half.

What impresses Hampton about the five-foot-11, 225-pound Benson isn't necessarily his ability to break off a long run, but to turn a one-yard run into a three-yard run - extra yards that add up to first downs and, eventually, 100-yard days.

Against most teams, that is.

"He's patient, real patient," Hampton said. "He takes his time and when he sees a gap he'll take his three yards in a cloud of dust instead of trying to make the big play every time. He takes his threes, fours and doesn't take a whole lot of losses unless somebody gets a whole lot of penetration."

Since the Bengals and Steelers moved into the same division in 1970, the Bengals have had only five 100-yard rushers in Pittsburgh, according to STATS LLC, and only two during the last 20 seasons, by Rudi Johnson (123 yards, 2004) and Corey Dillon (120, 1999). Before that, James Brooks's 127-yard game in 1989 was the last.

Asked if it's personnel or scheme that makes the Steelers so good against the run, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said it's both. Benson said it's Pittsburgh's ability to force mismatches by getting bigger defenders on smaller blockers.

Benson has gained 76, 35 and 52 yards in his last three games against the Steelers.

"When you get teams that don't play the run very well, it's generally because their secondary guys don't tackle very well," Lewis said. "It's never really as much a reflection of the front guys as it is maybe the perimeter players."

The Steelers are remaining tough against the run despite losing one of the NFL's best run-stoppers, defensive end Aaron Smith, to a season-ending right shoulder injury last month.

It's helped that safety Troy Polamalu returned from a four-game layoff with a left knee injury to resume his role as one of the league's best all-around defenders. He missed the earlier Bengals game.

"Troy makes some plays that he's supposed to make, that somebody else should make, and plays you shake your head and say, 'Wow, how did he do that?' " Lewis said. "He's a great student of the game."

Copyright 2009 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

11-13-2009, 08:01 AM
Don't worry Cedric you'll be with some good company when you fail, again, in another game against the Steelers to reach the century mark.

Dino 6 Rings
11-13-2009, 12:59 PM
Running the ball has been the key to the Bengals offensive success this season. If we can stuff their run, we will force them into passing the ball and should be able to key off on Carson and the receivers and win this game. Just don't let up on their throat next time like we did in the first game. Don't stop trying to score until there are 100 points on the board. If we do that, we should win this one.

11-13-2009, 03:43 PM
IMO Cedric Benson will be lucky to get more than 60 yards rushing on Sunday.

11-13-2009, 04:34 PM
Tired of hearing all these Bungal fans saying Cedric has gotten a hundred times better since Week 3. So have we. God help you Ced, you'll need it, we wont

11-13-2009, 04:37 PM
Tired of hearing all these Bungal fans saying Cedric has gotten a hundred times better since Week 3. So have we. God help you Ced, you'll need it, we wont


11-14-2009, 03:08 PM
Tired of hearing all these Bungal fans saying Cedric has gotten a hundred times better since Week 3. So have we. God help you Ced, you'll need it, we wont

No kidding.