I know Ken Laird of Trib Live Radio saw what I saw and I know Twitter friend and Pittsburgh sports expert @SteelersCrash saw it too. I also know one of my favorite writers, Dejan Kovecevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review saw it as well because he forwarded a tweet from @SteelersCrash about it.
Now that I’m done sounding like a high school girl repeating the latest gossip, the ‘it’ the I am referring to is the two-minute drill from Saturday night’s game in Buffalo. You can scream all you want to about how it would have never happened had Ben Roethlisberger not found Jonathan Dwyer for 29 yards on third and nine from their own two-yard line, but it falls on my deaf ears. It happened.
The rest of the drive was pure brilliance by Roethlisberger, running the hurry-up, in a new offense mind you, to perfection. It culminated in the six-yard scoring pass to Antonio Brown and gave the Steelers’ first-teamers a 14-7 “win” over the Bills’ first-teamers if you will.
The new offense to this point under Todd Haley has been a little bit of what I feared it would be in terms of very short passing and a lot of running and to this point it has been a ‘so-so’ result though three games.
I am a proponent of a base offense that consists of three wide receivers, a tight end and a running back. I understand there are times when a fullback or extra tight end are needed but not as the base offensive set for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
What you saw in that two-minute drill was Ben Roethlisberger doing what he does best and to force him to do anything but would be criminal and I’m not saying that Haley has done that, yet… Do I believe the Steelers need to run the ball more? No, I do not. Do I believe they need to run the ball better? Yes, I do. Through the entire off-season, I have talked about quality vs. quantity when it comes to the running game in the Steel City.
The biggest problem I had with Bruce Arians was the lack of attention to be able to run the ball effectively. The NFL is a pass-first league today and Arians did that, but you still have to be able to run the ball when you have to and I believe this is why Haley was brought in. Through the training camp we saw eveidnce of this with scrappiness, intensity and even fights! The offensive line was getting the message.
This doesn’t mean you take the keys away from the best damn driver in the NFL when it comes to the two-minute offense and give them to the career dump truck driver so he can slowly plod through traffic. Ben Roethlisberger is clearly a better QB when he is able to think on the fly and create using his own interpretation of what the defense is giving him. I’ve seen this for eight plus years now and so have many others.
Look, I understand what the Haley offense is supposed to do. Three-step drop and dump to the ball in order for the the receivers to make plays after the catch. This does two things; first it means the offensive line has to protect for less amounts of time and secondly it allows Roethlisberger to stay relatively unscathed and healthy.
There is no reason however that Haley’s offense and Ben’s style of play can’t be meshed and allowed to co-exist while maintaing a nasty edge on the offensive line. The Steelers of 2012 have weapons galore and they have to be used and I have faith that Haley will do that, but how he does this is what could be most important going forward.
I implore you Mike Tomlin and Mr. Rooney. Take the reins off of Big Ben and let him do what he does best. I know you both saw him tearing up the Bills on Saturday night and many others did too. Let’s see it all season long please.