Jonathan Dwyer: Why RB Will Help Steelers to Victory in Week 7

Ryan DavenportContributor IOctober 20, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 01:  Jonathan Dwyer #27 of the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Carolina Panthers during their preseason game at Bank of America Stadium on September 1, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

No Rashard Mendenhall or Isaac Redman? No problem for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as third-string back Jonathan Dwyer will do his part, and help the Steelers get an important victory on the road against the Bengals on Sunday.

That's because Dwyer, who has just 70 yards on 24 carries, is more than capable of being an adequate replacement for Pittsburgh, which doesn't rely on the run much to begin with.

Heading into Sunday, Pittsburgh is last in the NFL in rushing yards, averaging just 74.8 yards a game, so it's not as if Dwyer will have to carry the team to victory.

Instead, Dwyer simply has to give the Steelers an option on the ground, so they don't have to rely on Ben Roethlisberger quite as often, especially because according to The Washington Post, the star quarterback injured his ankle in practice late in the week. 

So far, when Dwyer has been given the rare opportunity to be the Steelers' featured back, he's been an offensive threat.

Last year against the Tennessee Titans in Week 5, Dwyer carried the ball a career-high 11 times and picked up 107 yards to help the Steelers to a 38-17 win.

That day, Dwyer's play forced the Titans to respect his abilities on the ground, which played a role in Roethlisberger throwing a franchise-record five touchdown passes.

On Sunday, for the Steelers to win, the former Georgia Tech star won't have to match his career-best performance, which came last season against the Cincinnati Bengals. He rushed 22 times for 110 yards in that game, a 24-17 win.

All Dwyer has to do is give the Steelers 50 to 60 yards and pick up a first down or two, and though it'd be nice for the third-year back to score his first NFL touchdown, Pittsburgh's offense won't be counting on him to put points on the board.