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Old 10-05-2009, 08:48 PM   #1
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Default Steelers Offensive Line Turns Into Bullies For a Night

Steelers Offensive Line Turns Into Bullies For a Night
Posted Oct 05, 2009 7:25AM By JJ Cooper (RSS feed)

If the Steelers offensive line keeps playing like they did on Sunday night, all of their critics (here included) will go away. In lining up and blowing the Chargers off the ball, Pittsburgh put together its best offensive line performance in years.

Now this wasn't a Jerome Bettis-in-his-prime performance when Pittsburgh would run though eight and nine-man fronts. But thanks to the threat of an impressive passing game, Pittsburgh was able to run at will. Fill-in running back Rashard Mendenhall rushed for more yards (165) against the Chargers than starter Willie Parker rushed for in the first three games of the season (159).

.But even more impressive than Mendenhall's five runs of 10+ yards was his work in short-yardage situations. The Steelers were four of five on third and fourth and 1 against the Chargers. They were 1-of-4 in those situations coming into the game. By keeping drives going, Pittsburgh was able to control the clock and get touchdowns instead of field goals. Coming into the game, Pittsburgh had scored only thre touchdowns in seven trips inside the red zone. Against the Chargers, they were five-for-five.

Many of Pittsburgh's offensive line problems in 2008 were assignment issues. The Steelers would have four linemen doing their job on a running play, but one mistake would blow up the play. Against the Chargers, the five linemen worked as one unit. San Diego may have been without Jamal Williams and Shawne Merriman was banged up, but this is the kind of performance a group can build on. With games against the Lions and Browns coming up, Pittsburgh's offensive line has a chance to build some confidence.

Don't start voting them into the Pro Bowl or anything, but after getting criticized week after week, the Steelers offensive line deserves plenty of credit for how the played against the Chargers
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