Monday September 29, 2008
Heinz Field - 8:30 PM EST
The Steelers travel to Jacksonville this Sunday to face another team coming off an overtime victory this past weekend. Both teams are banged up and have issues with their offensive lines, and both are known for having a great rushing offense. This time around neither team is in the top 10 for rushing, and they both seem to be struggling offensively.
The Steelers offense, through the first 4 games, has been A-W-F-U-L! Big Ben has been sacked 15 times, sustained injuries to his shoulder, throwing hand and knee, has not had a 200 yard passing game, but has turned the ball over 5 times by himself. All this in just 4 games! In Ben's three games against the Jaguars he has averaged 168 yards passing, 1.6 TD passes, and 3.3 sacks per game with a QB rating of 85.6. Traditionally, Ben has struggled against Jacksonville but seemed to have a coming out party against them in the AFC Wild Card game as he brought the Steelers back from a double digit deficit in the 4th quarter only to fall short that game. Hopefully, Ben figured something out that game and is able to use it again this game.
Parker and Mendenhall are both out for this game, Mendenhall is actually done for the year along with RG Simmons. The Steelers are banged up bad right now, but really no more than any other team in the NFL as injuries seem to be the them this year. Moore will more than likely get his first start as a Steeler with Russell and Davenport backing him up, assuming Davenport is signed. The running is not existent this year averaging just 100 yards per game. At that pace they'll get 1600 on the year and probably be out rushed by 5 individuals. This woeful problems though can all be equated to the offensive line. The line has been non existent for a majority of the season only showing glimpses of hope every now and then, but really nothing to get excited about. Not all the blame can be placed on the line though, Ben could try and get rid of the ball sooner or the OC could call some plays to offset the blitzes opposing defenses are unloading on the Steelers.
Defense usually wins Championships, at this point this Steelers defense looks like they could win a Championship by themselves. They have stopped the run, and they aren't giving up the big plays down field. Granted they have had let downs on third and long but that can be expected from time-to-time. If the defense wasn't as good as they are their 3-1 record would probably be 1-3. For the Steelers to pull out a victory on the road in Jacksonville they will need to do the following:
- Offensive line needs to protect Ben and open up holes for the running game.
- Play calling needs to counter the blitzes and keep the defense on their heals.
- Offense needs to wake up and use the star power to light up the scoreboard!
Join us Sunday night as we talk about the game and cheer on the Steelers to a victory!!!