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Old 10-20-2009, 04:05 AM   #1
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Default Offense no longer plays second fiddle

Tuesday, October 20, 2009
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Long holding a back seat to its superb defense, the Steelers' offense has moved to the front, and it may be the start of something Pittsburgh has not seen in quite some time.

One thing it never has seen: No Steelers team has ever led the NFL in passing at the end of a season, at least not since the 1970 merger between the AFL and NFL. Their highest ranking came in 1979, their fourth Super Bowl season, when they finished second in passing, second in rushing and first overall, the only time their offense finished on top in yardage.

Today, the Steelers' passing game ranks second in the NFL only to the Indianapolis Colts. They rank fifth in total yards. They averaged 296.7 yards passing per game and 403.7 in total offense.

And we might not have seen anything yet because their running game is taking shape after faltering early.

"We definitely have the ability to do both and do both very well," said tight end Heath Miller. "I think our goal as an offense should be to reach our full potential because I feel like the bar should be pretty high if we're able to get there."

Get there? That offense already has climbed to new heights.

Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward lead the NFL in passing and receiving. Roethlisberger's 1,887 yards passing are 77 more than Houston's Matt Schaub, although Peyton Manning had the day off and averages more per game with 1,645.

Ward's 599 yards receiving are 27 more than Houston's Andre Johnson, and that's not little-ball Ward has been playing. At 33 years old, he has a healthy 14.6 yards per catch. Compare that to Arizona's big-play Larry Fitzgerald, who averages 10.3 yards on 35 receptions.

The only tight end with more catches than Miller's 34 is Dallas Clark of Indianapolis with 35.

Sunday, Bruce Arians gave Roethlisberger more chances to run the no-huddle, which is fast becoming a staple. Roethlisberger often calls his own plays in those situations.

"Well, it's fun," Roethlisberger said. "I think if you ask the receivers, they like it. Two guys had over 100 yards, Heath had a bunch of yards, the backs are getting the balls. Everybody's getting touches, so I think they like it as well."

Even the defense sees no problem with that style of offense. In the past, defenders enjoyed the luxury of resting on the sideline as their offense consumed time by running the ball. It kept them fresh.

But they still are winning the time of possession by a large margin. They had the ball for 36 minutes, 46 seconds Sunday compared to Cleveland's 23:14, and, for the season, they average 33:53 to their opponents' 26:07.

"It helps a lot," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "When we're watching those guys work and resting, we enjoy it. They're playing good ball right now. I think they have a lot of continuity, they trust each other, they know what they're doing and they have playmakers.

"Ben's playing as good as anyone right now. Keep the ball in his hands, we'll be OK."

And this is no West Coast dink-and-dunk affair. Roethlisberger's 9.1 yards per attempt leads the NFL.

The Steelers did not score the points to match the most yards they have produced in a game in 14 years Sunday (543) because they lost three fumbles, had one pass intercepted and had a touchdown pass overturned by a convoluted rule. Yet Arians liked what he saw otherwise.

"The points didn't match the performance,"' Arians acknowledged. "We put it all together, we can be pretty doggone good.

"As well as we blocked the blitz -- because we caught them in a lot of blitzes -- we knew we would get guys running free and the guys held them out of there, and Ben found the guys quickly and got the ball to them. I didn't think we'd get that many, but we matched it up pretty good at times."

Arians said Roethlisberger has taken control in many ways. They used the no-huddle a lot in the second quarter and, at halftime, they decided to go back to Arians calling the plays -- until Cleveland scored to cut the lead to three early in the second half.

"When they scored, I looked at him and said 'I don't know, maybe we want to stay up-tempo,' and he said, 'you call this one, and we'll see what happens.'

"I love the relationship because I have no qualms about saying let's go, because he can slow it down, he can speed it up, he knows what he wants. And he knows when to get himself back in the shotgun. He's playing extremely, extremely high right now."

Higher than anyone has seen in a long time here.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09293/1006804-66.stm
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Old 10-20-2009, 04:24 AM   #2
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Default Re: Offense no longer plays second fiddle

Quote:
Sunday, Bruce Arians gave Roethlisberger more chances to run the no-huddle, which is fast becoming a staple. Roethlisberger often calls his own plays in those situations.


Does he really, No, that couldn't be so. Roethlisberger has that speaker in his helmet you know.


Quote:
"The points didn't match the performance,"' Arians acknowledged. "We put it all together, we can be pretty doggone good.
A little more no huddle should take care of that Bruce.


Quote:
Arians said Roethlisberger has taken control in many ways. They used the no-huddle a lot in the second quarter and, at halftime, they decided to go back to Arians calling the plays -- until Cleveland scored to cut the lead to three early in the second half.

"When they scored, I looked at him and said 'I don't know, maybe we want to stay up-tempo,' and he said, 'you call this one, and we'll see what happens.'
Arians called a ??? game. And it sounds as if Roethlisberger called a BETTER game.

Quote:
"I love the relationship because I have no qualms about saying let's go, because he can slow it down, he can speed it up, he knows what he wants. And he knows when to get himself back in the shotgun. He's playing extremely, extremely high right now."
Good call Bruce! You can design the plays but we'll let Roethlisberger call them. It just works better that way and it will keep the fans and the media from dogging your A$$.
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:48 AM   #3
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Default Re: Offense no longer plays second fiddle

(sigh)

ANOTHER "blast Arians because I'm stupid and don't understand football" thread?

Really?
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Old 10-20-2009, 09:39 AM   #4
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Default Re: Offense no longer plays second fiddle

Its amazing that when the offense is doing good Arian's has nothing to do with it and its all because the players are executing great and Ben is making the right calls. But on the flip side if the offense stinks up the place Arian's called a bad game and does not know what he is doing and player execution had nothing to do with it then.


I guess we need to go hire Jim Zorn it looks like he will be needing a job after this season.
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Old 10-20-2009, 10:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: Offense no longer plays second fiddle

Hopefully this team will have many of the kinks out by the time we play the Vikes next week. But I figure, at the least, both the Offense and Defense will be up to full steam by games 8-10.... But we NEED them to make a "quantum leap" to professionalism and the level of play we all foresee them playing at.... by this weekend....
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Old 10-20-2009, 11:15 PM   #6
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Default Re: Offense no longer plays second fiddle

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Originally Posted by revefsreleets View Post
(sigh)

ANOTHER "blast Arians because I'm stupid and don't understand football" thread?

Really?
I've read more than one post from you indicating that I'm on your ignore list. How is it possible that you to keep viewing my posts? Man you're really sneaky. It's either that or you really don't despise me as bad as you think that you do. In fact, you may even like me a little bit, huh?

But I'll tell you what, I'll agree with your post to a certain extent. The Arians bashing on my previous post was uncalled for. I really don't have a problem with Arians this season, he's doing a mighty fine job for the most part.

Here's the real deal, honest to God. I typically throw out a little Arians bashing just to spark a debate. I realize that the Arians debating is OLD and TIRESOME to some, but it does generate some of the more entertaining threads that I've seen. For whatever reason, it's really none of my business, you seem to take the Arians bashing too personal. At times I would almost bet that you're related to Arians, that's how personal that you're taking the bashing.

The team is winning, the offense is kicking A$$, I'm happy as a lark. If that makes me stupid than so be it. We'll just say that I'm "happy stupid".

PS: I'm so happy that I'll remove you from my ignore list.
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Old 10-21-2009, 05:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Offense no longer plays second fiddle

While i'd still like the team to improve in all aspects, i think it's great that the offense has stepped up so much. Honestly, i dont think anybody during the offseason in here would've guessed that our offense would be outplaying our defense right now (i'm guilty).
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Old 10-21-2009, 09:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: Offense no longer plays second fiddle

Even if you don't like Bruce calling the plays, just be glad you don't see him being completely stripped of it and then discussing it in a press conference how he's still going to be right there, keeping the players motivated.

I live down in DC and I have to tell ya, I feel sorry for these Redskins fans. It must be awful to have a coach who sucks so bad that he's basically been demoted to a cheerleader.
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Old 10-21-2009, 09:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: Offense no longer plays second fiddle

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I live down in DC and I have to tell ya, I feel sorry for these Redskins fans. It must be awful to have a coach who sucks so bad that he's basically been demoted to a cheerleader.
I'd imagine it sucks even worse when the real root of the problem is a team owner that fancies himself to be a NFL GM and is absolutely clueless when it comes to personnel matters (again, still shaking my head over the $100 million deal for Haynesworth), yet thinks he knows what he's doing while it's the HC who ultimately takes the fall for his idiocy.
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:00 AM   #10
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Default Re: Offense no longer plays second fiddle

No argument here. That Haynesworth acquisition was the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen.
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