They said they were screwed. That when they lost Rashard Mendenhall and Carey Davis during the Baltimore Ravens game in week four, that they lost their running game and the Steelers were going to struggle. The demise of the Pittsburgh Steelers was overly exaggerated.
Somehow this season, games have been classic. The Browns, the Ravens game, classic Steelers rival games. Steelers were going into Jacksonville and face the Jaguars. The team that seemed to hold their number, the team they lost twice to in 07, once in the playoffs.
The Steelers went in banged up against a defense whose pass coverage was suspect. Would there be a running game for the Steelers, given that Willie Parker was out, given they lost their backups. There were questions about Najeh Davenport and Gary Russell. We said don’t worry. Homer faith? Perhaps. However, Mewelde Moore did better in receiving against a run stingy Ravens defense.
So it started, already the Jags were up by a touchdown due to an interception to Rashean Mathis. If Ben had a nemesis, it would be Mathis. However, the Steelers answered back. It would end up being a game that would keep people on the edge of their seats, till the final seconds.
Steelers defense did what we expected a Steelers defense to do, played great, especially in preventing an accurate David Garrard from getting down the field to get a touchdown, in the last minute of the game, protecting their lead. Lamar Woodley would end up being the defensive stud this game with six tackles and 2 solo sacks. Aaron Smith would have the spotlight in the last seconds, batting down a Garrard pass that ended the game.
On the oline, is it too early to think that replacing Kendall Simmons with Stapleton may have been an answer to the weak right side? Of course there was help with Ben Roethlisberger being able to roll out of the box and extend plays with his feet. Yeah he was sacked three times, (the Jags found their pass rush) and at one point, for a moment, we thought he’d end up out of the game, however, he came out played without a hitch. Arians had him play to what worked for him in the past. Think the OC is finally learning?
In the end, Ben would throw for 309 yards and three touchdowns, and Moore would run for 99 yds. The Steelers would not only answer how they would get passed a team that in the past few years had their number, but also how well they would do without Parker and Mendenhall – just fine.