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Old 09-20-2009, 12:24 AM   #1
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Default Steelers rewriting a long-held truth

Steelers rewriting a long-held truth
Sunday, September 20, 2009
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

When the term "Steelers football" is mentioned to offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, his idea of what it entails, what it means, is different from most people who seem to embrace its phraseology.

Those people, and Willie Parker is among them, consider "Steelers football" to be an ideological operative for how the game is supposed to be played. They consider it a standard, a birthright that is to be upheld in the finest tradition of the franchise.

By their measure, playing "Steelers football" means only one thing: To go back to the glory days and grind the opponent into submission with an indomitable running game, whether with Franco Harris or Jerome Bettis or perhaps even Barry Foster.

Not Arians.

"Coach [Chuck] Noll was as balanced a coach as there was," Arians said. "He didn't try to beat his head against any walls. If you were going to give him one thing, he would take it and beat you with it. Steelers football is winning -- whatever it takes. It isn't how many times you run the ball.

"It isn't pound, pound, pound, throw it on third down. You can run the ball 40 times and win, that's easy. But you can't count on that [happening] but once every two years."

And it continues that way today, thanks to the presence and heroics of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who wasted little kick-starting the 2009 season the same way he ended last season -- hoisting the team on his shoulders and leading the team on another game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime, the 18th time he has done that in his six-year career.

"As long as our quarterback feels comfortable, we have a chance to win," Arians said.

Welcome to the new world of Steelers football.

Despite many public statements and insistence that they want to establish the run in every game they play -- including today's 4:15 p.m. meeting with the Chicago Bears in Soldier Field -- the Steelers are a team that wants to throw, is built to throw and intends to throw. One player even came out and finally admitted as much the other day -- center Justin Hartwig.

"That's the personality of our offense -- we're a pass-first offense," Hartwig said. "We practice passing the ball. That's definitely our strength."

So when Parker, unhappy with the amount of carries he was getting last year, said the offense needed to get back to Steelers football, it did -- riding Roethlisberger's throwing arm all the way to their Super Bowl XLIII victory.

"It's fun to be able to win it that way and the offensive line takes pride in that as well," Roethlisberger said. "Just as much as the running game -- the wide receivers, myself, the O-line -- we take pride in winning games when we can throw it, too."

Do not misunderstand. The Steelers are not pass-happy. They do not seek to throw the ball as much as Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Kurt Warner. They do not seek to throw even as much as Roethlisberger did against the Tennesse Titans, when he attempted 43 passes, completing 33, for 363 yards.

They are merely pass-oriented. They will throw first, run second, almost without fail.

"We want to run the ball, but you got to look around," said tackle Willie Colon. "The run game is not humming and the pass game is humming, you got to wing it."

Based on what transpired in the 13-10 overtime victory against the Titans, there is little wrong with the passing game. Three receivers caught at least eight passes and Roethlisberger had only four incompletions after halftime. But, make no mistake, the same cannot be said for the running game, which produced its most meager outing (36 yards on 23 carries) since Week 3 last season in Philadelphia when the Steelers managed only 33 yards rushing on 19 attempts.

All of which is why the Steelers will concentrate on getting their running game going against the Bears, who allowed the Green Bay Packers to rush for 76 yards on 22 attempts in Sunday night's 21-15 defeat in Lambeau Field.

"We want to be a balanced team," said receiver Hines Ward, who had nine catches for 103 yards against the Titans. "I was here when Tommy [Maddox] was slinging the ball and Plaxico [Burress] and myself had 1,300 yards each [in 2002]. We had one of the lethal tandems in the league and people said that's not Steelers football. People said let's get back to Steelers football. And now...."

And now this.

Perhaps it is ironic the Steelers are making their first appearance in Soldier Field since a 37-34 overtime victory in 1995 -- the only time in 12 lifetime appearances they have beaten the Bears in Chicago. It was in that game that quarterback Neil O'Donnell completed 34 of 52 passes for 341 yards and two touchdowns -- all part of a season in which the Steelers set a club record for passing yards in a season (4,093).

The victory against the Bears came near the beginning of a seven-game win streak that propelled the Steelers to Super Bowl XXX, where they lost to the Dallas Cowboys. But even then, as now, they did it by throwing the ball first, running second.

"We're not the K-Gun of Jim Kelly," Arians said, referring to the offense used by the Buffalo Bills when they won four consecutive AFC Championships in the 1980s. "But we could be. We could be very easily. But we still want to maintain some Steeler football."
Gerry Dulac can be reached at gdulac@post-gazette.com.
First published on September 20, 2009 at 12:00 am

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09263...#ixzz0RcaYGeHu
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Old 09-20-2009, 01:23 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers rewriting a long-held truth

10 days is way too long to wait in between games.

I'm wasted reading these articles.

Play some football already!
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Old 09-20-2009, 02:12 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers rewriting a long-held truth

who cares?!?!?!?! lets just play football, run, pass, kick, shoot the ball, who cares? lets just win!
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