The Pittsburgh Steelers ran into many, many problems during their 35-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens this past Sunday. Surely Ben Roethlisberger throwing three interceptions and dropping two fumbles was not in the gameplan. But where Ben's execution failed to lift the Steelers over the Ravens, a different strategic question raised throughout the game: where was the running game?
Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman, the only two Steelers running backs who saw action on Sunday, combined for only 57 yards on the day. Any time the Pittsburgh Steelers fail to find success in their running game, the traditional bread and butter of their offense, it is a bad sign for the rest of the day. But perhaps more concerning than the running game failing was the running game not being given a chance. Mendenhall and Redman had only 57 yards, sure, but they were only given 15 carries. Mendenhall put a ball on the turf and lost it, but compared to the passing game, he and Redman provided more ball security than Roethlisberger that day. Together they averaged 3.8 yards per carry – nothing impressive, but not bad enough to give up rushing altogether.
Why didn't Tomlin allow the backs to run more? Why only 15 carries? With the running game absent, the Ravens secondary was free to focus more of their attention on Roethlisberger's passes, which obviously worked out for them. If the backs got more carries, it would have kept the safeties and linebackers more honest, and the play action would have opened up more room for the receivers.
On the other side of the ball, Ravens running back Ray Rice ran for 107 yards and a touchdown and, surprisingly, his backfield partner Ricky Williams, signed this summer in free agency, had 63 yards as well. Together they not only got yards for the Ravens offense, but they also gave Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco more room to breathe on passing downs as the Steelers offense had to keep the backs in consideration.
Next week the Steelers play the Seattle Seahawks, who were 21st in rush defense in 2010. Hopefully then we will see Mendenhall factor more into the offense.
Related VideosReturning Soon!!!!
No related posts.
Short URL: http://sport-ne.ws/3c8