View Full Version : Steelers look to keep Benson in check

11-14-2009, 09:52 AM
Steelers look to keep Benson in check
November 14, 5:36 AMPittsburgh Sports Examiner
Matt Pawlikowski

PITTSBURGH - Mike Tomlin is a firm believer that football games are won in the trenches.

When it comes to playing Cincinnati on Sunday, that could very well be the case. Not only on offense, where the line must find ways to open up holes for Rashard Mendenahall, who has been averaging 105 yards the past five games, but especially on defense.

The reason?

He's called Cedric Benson, who has become one of the NFL's elite runners this season and has been on a tear of late. He has 837 yards, is averaging 104 per game and six touchdowns. Last week against the Ravens, he had 117.

"He's an inspired, motivated runner, and it shows up on tape," Tomlin said. "And I'm sure that they're glad to see that he's in that state of mind at this point."

Benson, who was the fourth overall selection of the the 2005 draft, seems to be playing with a chip on his shoulder, although teammate Chad Ochocinco disagrees.

"I donít think it has anything to do with a chip. You donít just all of a sudden just turn into this unbelievable back," Ochocinco said. " I think heís always been a great back since he was in college and Iím not sure what happened with the Bears, but what heís doing right now, Iím sure heís been able to do it all his career."

During the past five years, only three backs have gained 100 yards against the Steelers. No one has done it the past 30 games. The last AFC North back to do it was the Bengals Rudy Johnson in 2005.

"It doesn't matter who we're playing, it's always stop the run first," nose tackle Casey Hampton said.

Benson is aware of the Steelers success against the run, and had this to say earlier this week about it.

"Streaks are meant to be broken; records are meant to be broken,"Benson told reporters this week when the fact was brought up. "Why not be the guy? That is somewhat motivation, but this season has been motivation.Ē

Ryan Clark didn't comment on the streak, instead he praised Benson, saying he has given the Bengals a new dimension.

"I think Cedric Benson has really changed that team, its kind of like when they had Rudy Johnson," Clark said. "Every team needs a running game, you need complimentary parts and its obviously given their offense a lot of confidence."

The last time the Steelers faced the Bengals, Benson had 76 yards. The last guy to hit the 100 yard mark against the team was Jacksonville's Fred Taylor.

Lewis, who coached Steelers linebackers Kevin Greene, Levon Kirkland and Greg Lloyd from 1992-95 and was there with current defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, knows reaching 100 yards will be no easy task, even with run plugger Aaron Smith out of the lineup for the year.

"When a new guy comes in and is plugged in he understands the scheme because the other ten guys around him already know," Lewis said. " If you are going to play there you have to be able to tackle, you have to be a secondary who can tackle and will tackle and it is empowered to the whole unit."

And when that happens, as been the case many times for the Steelers, it creates a one dimensional offense, meaning Carson Palmer's arm will have to beat the black and gold.


Chalk up another weekly honor for the Steelers. This time it was rookie Mike Wallace's turn. The speedster wideout was named the Pepsi NFL rookie of the week. This comes on the heels of Tyrone Carter being tabbed NFL defensive player of the week.

11-14-2009, 10:17 AM
We definitely need to contain him, he is no joke if he rushes for over a hundred yard on Baltimore twice.