View Full Version : Running game has been going nowhere quickly

11-04-2010, 06:12 PM
Running game has been going nowhere quickly
F. Dale Lolley

NEW ORLEANS - In the weeks leading up to Ben Roethlisberger's return from his four-game suspension, all we heard from the Steelers was how the quarterback's return would open things up for the running game.

At that point, the rushing attack - namely Rashard Mendenhall - had been the only consistent part of Pittsburgh's offense.

But since Roethlisberger's return three weeks ago, the running game has taken a nose dive.

In the four games without Roethlisberger, Mendenhall had 411 yards rushing on 89 carries, an average of 4.6 yards per carry.

In the three games since Roethlisberger returned, Mendenhall has seen his numbers and production fall off considerably.

In Roethlisberger's first game back, Mendenhall picked up a solid 84 yards, but took 27 carries to get there. That doesn't sound bad until you realize that effort came against perennial doormat Cleveland.

Then came a 15-carry, 37-yard effort at Miami.

That was followed up by Sunday night's ineffectiveness in an 20-10 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Yes, Mendenhall finally broke free in the fourth quarter for a 38-yard touchdown run, but that only masked what was otherwise a lackluster effort.

Prior to that run, Mendenhall had 31 yards on 13 carries.

At no point was the Steelers' inability to run the ball more apparent than in the second quarter against the Saints.

After a catch by receiver Antwaan Randle El put the ball six inches shy of the goal line, the Steelers attempted three runs - one by Isaac Redman, two by Mendenhall. They failed to get in the end zone.

Redman was stuffed for a loss of a yard on first down. Mendenhall then got that yard back on second down before getting stuffed for no gain on third down.

It's strikingly familiar to the past two seasons, when the Steelers had to rely on the passing of Roethlisberger to get the ball into the end zone.

This is a team that paid plenty of lip service in the offseason about wanting to get better at running the football. Even team president Art Rooney II spoke openly of it.

But, at this point, the Steelers aren't running any better than in the last two seasons. They're just running it more.

Establishing a mentality is one thing. Continually pounding the ball for two yards at a time is another.

And to be a truly dominant offense, the Steelers must be able to gain a yard via the run when needed. Such was the case Sunday and they failed miserably.

On the plus side, no team has been able to consistently run against the Steelers, either.

The Saints were equally as inept as the Steelers after getting the football to the Pittsburgh 1-yard line on the opening possession of the second half. The Saints attempted one pass - to a reserve offensive lineman - and were stuffed for losses on second- and third-down running plays.

But we expect to see that against the Steelers' defense. The inability of opposing teams to gain yardage on the ground is a given.

If the Steelers expect to beat good opponents, such as the Saints, for the remainder of this season, they have to be more effective at running the football.

F. Dale Lolley can be reached at dlolley@observer-reporter.com

11-04-2010, 08:57 PM
I blame the play calling as much as anything. So gad dang predictable, or, if not, they
call super retarded trick plays were we lose 6 yards a pop.

11-04-2010, 11:25 PM
Play calling has been garbage. Big Ben has been playing like an ahole and our line is a revolving door of injures every other play.

11-05-2010, 12:31 AM
Let Ben call the plays.

11-05-2010, 11:28 PM
Was anyone else looking for a play-action pass on those goal-line plays? Maybe I'm in the minority here...

11-06-2010, 12:33 AM
Was anyone else looking for a play-action pass on those goal-line plays? Maybe I'm in the minority here...

Honestly, any 3rd and goal situation, I fully expect the play to be play-action to Miller. I feel he is under-utilized in the red zone.

11-06-2010, 05:36 AM
The most important criteria for a running back to get yardage is very simple: you need an O-line that can make holes for you to run through, and the Steelers O-line has been horrible. These guys are getting pushed around like they were sacks of potatoes. Clear evidence: in the Saints game - 1st and goal at the 6 inch line, and you can't get a TD rushing the ball? Pathetic. These guys stink, period. Against lesser teams they look good. Against better teams, they look awful. And did they ever look awful against the Saints - they were manhandled. It was embarrassing.

11-06-2010, 07:55 AM
Very good points by several people here guys. Our offensive line has to take alot of the blame in my opinion here, but most of it is because they are not in the game the entire games. We have had so many Injuries on that offensive line and the early weeks were dominated by conditioning. What is gonna happen in the next few years when the Commish takes away 2 of the preseason games and adds 2 Regular season games? Its gonna be worst ladies and gents. I think its a joke to add regular season games and take away preseason games. I think the NFL should take a vote amongst the Players on how many games and see how that goes . . They Are What Makes The NFL What It Is . The Greatest Sport on Earth:tt03: