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mesaSteeler
11-18-2011, 07:03 AM
Control seized after Steelers' quick starts, answers
Friday, November 18, 2011
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Peter Diana/Post-Gazette

Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers have scored on the opening possession of five of their past six games.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger does not know how or when he injured the thumb on his throwing hand, but it could have come from trying to count all the times the offense has started quick. Or all the times they have answered opposing scores with timely touchdowns.

Not only have the Steelers scored on their opening possession in five of the past six games, including in a 24-17 victory Sunday in Cincinnati, but they also have had double-digit leads in the first quarter in four of the past five outings.

And, on those occasions when the defense hasn't always been able to prevent opponents from tying the score or getting within a field goal, the offense has quickly countered with a touchdown to effectively seal the outcome.

"We feel we can score with the best teams in the NFL," wide receiver Mike Wallace said. "So that's what we have to do in order to have control of the game. You have to have a fast start and you don't want to play from behind."

It happened on all fronts Sunday in Cincinnati when the Steelers scored on their first series, jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and then put the Bengals away with a late touchdown right after Cincinnati had tied the score, 17-17.

"It puts us in position to where we control the game, we dictate what's going on," said Wallace, the team's leading receiver. "If you start out behind, 14-0, you have to fight your way and keep throwing the ball and force things. If you start fast and you get the lead, you can control the tempo and do things you want to do."

In this streak of five victories in six games that has vaulted them back to the top of the AFC North Division, the Steelers (7-3) also have received timely production from their offense, as well -- displaying an ability to deliver a counter punch that, on many occasions, has proved to be the knockout punch.

It happened again in Cincinnati's Paul Brown Stadium, right after the Bengals tied the score on a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jermaine Gresham in the third quarter.

Undaunted, the Steelers immediately responded with an 11-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Rashard Mendenhall's dazzling 9-yard touchdown run to make the score 24-17. On the drive, Mendenhall carried five times for 21 yards and Roethlisberger completed all four pass attempts for 46 yards.

"We've been good at that al year," said offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. "When the opposing team scores, we usually answer with a touchdown. That's a sign of a pretty good bunch."

Consider:

In Week 5 against Tennessee, after the Titans opened with a field goal on the game's first series, the Steelers answered with touchdowns on their first three possessions.

In Arizona, right after the Cardinals cut the lead to 17-14 on a 73-yard catch-and-run touchdown by LaRod Stephens-Howling, the Steelers marched 80 yards on 11 plays on the ensuing series to pad their lead to 24-14.

When the New England Patriots scored on a 2-yard pass to Deion Branch to make it 10-7, the Steelers came right back with a 7-yard touchdown to Antonio Brown on the next series to make it 17-7.

Even in the rematch with Baltimore, after the Ravens scored on a 3-yard run by Ray Rice to make it 16-6, the Steelers kept themselves in the game by immediately coming back with an 80-yard, 11-play scoring drive that ended with Mendenhall's 1-yard run.

"To be a good team you have to respond," tight end Heath Miller said. "Not only were we able to respond [in Cincinnati], but our defense responded when I turned the ball over and held them to a field goal. Good teams are able to do that."

Said Wallace: "When we get in a game, if someone scores on our defense, we have to help them. We want to go down and score and make sure, if something happens, we did our part."

The offense has been doing its part -- in a quick and timely fashion.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11322/1190765-66-0.stm#ixzz1e3shdFp4

Big Daddy Beast
11-18-2011, 08:19 AM
I really like it when they incorporate that three-step quick release drop. Now if Ben can just cut back on the times when he holds onto the ball too long.

steelerjim58
11-18-2011, 05:23 PM
It is great thet Wallace feels like they can score with any team in the league. But it would be better if they actually showed that they can. For what ever reason the offense will start out like gang busters and then dissappear for a large chunk of the game. It is very frustrating to watch.

steelfury02
11-18-2011, 06:41 PM
yea, as we've all discussed, the days of running to hold a 14 or 17 pt lead are over so anytime we come out great and then a team slowly inch back is so dang frustrating. They need to be able to find that same sense of urgency in all 4 quarters. The goal should be to at least score 1 TD every quarter.

Steelerfreak58
11-18-2011, 10:20 PM
They need to learn to keep their foot on the gas pedal and not try and "run the clock out". The new rules of the NFL make it a PASS HAPPY league thanks to Goodell and his "player safety" politics. Leads to 92 yard drives in the last 2 minutes of a game kept alive by shit penalties.