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Old 01-12-2009, 06:00 AM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Perrotto: Yep, running game wins championships

Perrotto: Yep, running game wins championships
http://www.timesonline.com/articles/...f141991130.txt
By John Perrotto
Times Sports Staff

PITTSBURGH — Willie Parker did not have to speak to Jerome Bettis in the moments leading up to Sunday’s AFC divisional playoff game to convey the idea he was ready to have a big game.

Bettis, the future Hall of Famer, took part in the coin toss with his former Pittsburgh Steelers teammates prior to their 35-24 victory over the San Diego Chargers at Heinz Field that advanced the franchise to its third AFC championship game in five years.

Bettis stopped for a moment before leaving the field and told Parker, his replacement as the Steelers’ feature back in 2005, to play with confidence. Parker responded by putting his hand over his heart.

“I didn’t have to say a word,” Parker said. “He knew what I meant. He knew I was ready to play.”

Parker then had his best game of the season in helping sending the Steelers to a matchup with AFC North rival Baltimore Sunday at Heinz Field.

Parker finished with season-high 146 yards and two touchdowns on 27 attempts. His best effort in the regular season was 138 yards against Houston in the Sept. 7 opener.

“It feels good to run with confidence again,” Parker said with a big grin in his post-game press conference. “I didn’t always have confidence in the regular season. I wasn’t always sure of myself. Today, I knew it was going to be a big day. I could feel it.”

Parker rushed for just 791 yards in the regular season, ending a string of three straight 1,000-yard seasons. He was bothered by knee and shoulder injuries that robbed him of the ability to cut or bull his way through defenders.

“The big difference now is you’re looking at a running back who is 100-percent healthy,” Parker said. “I’m 100 percent, there’s no question.”

The Steelers certainly aren’t questioning Parker’s health, not after he finished the regular season with a 116-yard effort in a 31-0 rout of the Cleveland Browns. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, criticized for abandoning the running game at times this season, scripted the game plan so Parker would run up the middle on the first three plays.

Parker responded with runs of 12, 2 and 8 yards. That set the tone for Steelers to grind out a win over the big-play Chargers, who came into the game riding a five-game winning streak that propelled them from 4-8 to the second round of the playoffs.

The Steelers had 165 yards rushing, 12 first downs on the ground and held a 36:30 to 23:30 advantage in time of possession.

“I told Bruce that we should just run the ball between the tackles and try to wear their defense down,” Parker said. “It really worked. It helped the rest of the offense and it kept our defense fresh. It won the game for us.”


The old cliché goes that you have to be able to run to win a championship in football. The reason it is a cliché, though, is because it is true.

“When you run the ball like we did, it really calms everything down,” Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “It gives you a comfortable feeling.”

It also gives the Steelers a winning feeling.

Couple the way Parker ran Sunday with the lower-seeded teams pulling upsets in the other three divisional playoff games and the Steelers are now the clear favorites to win their second Super Bowl in four years and sixth in franchise history.
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: Perrotto: Yep, running game wins championships

You can really tell FWP is running with confidence again. FWP is healthy at the perfect time. Merrill Hoge kept talking about this on ESPN yesterday and said with a healthy FWP the Steelers are a very scary team. Great job FWP and now get ready to run on the Rats.
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: Perrotto: Yep, running game wins championships

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Originally Posted by markymarc View Post
You can really tell FWP is running with confidence again. FWP is healthy at the perfect time. Merrill Hoge kept talking about this on ESPN yesterday and said with a healthy FWP the Steelers are a very scary team. Great job FWP and now get ready to run on the Rats.
If Parker and/or Moore runs Sunday like Parker did yesterday, welcome to Tampa.
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:36 AM   #4
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Default Re: Perrotto: Yep, running game wins championships

I think Willie has a good chance to put up some big yards against the Rats. Look how well Chris Johnson did against their D. He was the reason the Titans were moving the ball in that game, as soon as he went out with injury the Rats took over.

A powerful running game is a beautiful thing. It keeps the clock moving, wears down the opposing defense and gives yours a chance to rest.

GO STEELERS!!
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: Perrotto: Yep, running game wins championships

that was a great game by willie last night.. moore rly didn't have a chance to get going b/c willie kept wanting to come back in and run the rock.. i feel pretty good going into the game next week
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:19 AM   #6
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Default Re: Perrotto: Yep, running game wins championships

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Originally Posted by Crow-Magnon View Post
If Parker and/or Moore runs Sunday like Parker did yesterday, welcome to Tampa.
That could be the key for our offense and as well how does the OL play. It is scary to see that burst from FWP again. Good luck trying to stop that
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:19 AM   #7
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Default Re: Perrotto: Yep, running game wins championships

Yup, the running game is vitally important to success in the playoffs and kudos to the Offensive staff for sticking with the run.

On NFL network, they asked player correspondant Ty Law who he thought would win next week. He said whoever runs the football and sticks with running it. Yards are gonna be tough, but persistance will win out.
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:40 AM   #8
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Default Re: Perrotto: Yep, running game wins championships

running on the rats is going to be a lot harder than it was against the bolts
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:41 AM   #9
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Default Re: Perrotto: Yep, running game wins championships

It was great, it was smart and it was right but.....the Ravens are not the Chargers.

Please mix up the run with more play action short passes and roll Ben out like yesterday. Just a little tweek . We won"t need as many points against the Ravens as we did the Chargers but points for us could be harder to come by this Sunday.

I have a feeling our defense is going to burst Flaco's bubble. We are going to see the Rookie exposed.

Keep the heart patients away from the tube. The refs are going to have their hands full.
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:57 AM   #10
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Default Re: Perrotto: Yep, running game wins championships

that was the best run offensive day of the season imo yesterday. the o-line stepped up big time, which i loved so much because we've all been pretty critical of them this season. our offense is SO much more fluid when the running game is going well. fast willie did the business big time, and moore and russell stepped up when they were called on too. it was the first time i think all season where i wasn't nervous about the other team scoring on us because i was confident that we could go down the other way and put points on the board when we had the ball.

that said, its gonna be a lot tougher running through the ravens d than the chargers d. hopefully the boys will make it happen.
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