Bruce Arians has a solid idea when it comes to devising a Steelers game plan on such a short work week.
PITTSBURGH – With just a couple of days to prepare for their game Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field, the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t worry too much about coming up with an offensive game plan.
Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians hopes to copy the one he used Sunday in a 35-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
“The game plan is very similar to last week,” said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. “But also, having an experienced group and a quarterback, we can do the no-huddle. And I think Bruce is comfortable that we’re going to use the no-huddle in this game. That can kind of help because you don’t have to put in too much and overwhelm in a game plan sense.”
The Steelers (9-3) didn’t use the no-huddle much against the Bengals. They didn’t need to after scoring 28 points in the second quarter.
A 28-7 halftime lead allowed them to do whatever they wanted in the second half and led to 33 of 59 offensive plays being runs.
More running has been a trend over the past three games for the Steelers. While their run-pass ratio for the season is 57-43 in favor of throwing the ball, the Steelers’ offensive attack has seen more of an even split over the past three games, with Pittsburgh running the ball 51 percent of the time.
“That’s the way we’d like to be,” said Arians. “Each game kind of brings a different set of circumstances. This past one, we had a good lead. There was no need to throw the ball, other than to try to get Hines (Ward) some catches - and they double-covered him. Hopefully, we have some more like that.”
That shouldn’t be a problem against the Browns (4-8). While Cleveland ranks first in the league against the pass, allowing 173.3 yards per game, it is 31st against the run, giving up 151.3 yards.
“Every time we play a team that’s ranked low in the rushing and high in the passing, we end up throwing the ball more,” he said. “It’s kind of crazy.”
But with two rookie starters on the defensive line – end Jabaal Sheard and defensive tackle Phil Taylor – the Browns have been susceptible to big rushing days. Despite being eighth in the NFL in total defense, in the past five games Cleveland has given up 1,098 yards rushing, including 290 in a 24-10 loss to Baltimore Sunday.
“It’s probably because they’re young,” said Arians. “They’re big and they’re active. But I think because they’re learning a new scheme, going from a two-gap 3-4 to one-gap 4-3 is hard on some young offensive linemen. I think they’re going to be really good. They’re ranked very highly as a defense, but they have given up some rushing yards.”
Arians would also like to get Ward the 10 receptions he needs to reach 1,000 for his career – as long as he can do it in the context of winning games.
“I want to see him get it. But it’s not something we can force,” Arians said. “It’s not like you can hand it to him and they count. We all want to see that happen, but it’s not going to be something we force to happen.
“We’ve been together for so long, it’s hugely important to me personally.”
By Dale Lolley
Posted Dec 6, 2011