201 yards rushing, one quarterback hit, and zero sacks sounds more like a wish list than a recent performance from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line, those are the stats turned in by the much maligned group up front.
Charlie Batch, Mike Wallace, and Rashard Mendenhall might have gotten their names in lights, but the Steelers’ offensive line played in ways reminiscent to years gone bye.
Unlike weeks past where penalties cost the Steelers precious offensive yards and touchdowns, the line went without a penalty Sunday against the Bucs.
The often penalized, Trai Essex was out injured, leaving Doug Legursky to take over the right guard spot. He did everything a young, inexperienced, offensive lineman could be asked. He tore open gapping holes and never once had his name mentioned outside the opening introductions.
Many thought the experience of Trai Essex helping Flozell Adams with his calls on the right side was worth keeping him in the starting lineup, but Legursky continued to show why he may yet be next in the long list of undrafted playmakers in Pittsburgh.
Before the Steelers drafted rookie Maurkice Pouncey, who had another outstanding game at center, it was thought likely that Legursky would supplant incumbent starter Justin Hartwig at the position. When Pouncey was drafted and later proved to be everything he was cracked up to be, Legursky ended up the backup on the interior line.
There is an adage as old as football that says, “Never let your backup see the field”. Trai Essex may be seeing the bench in favor of his backup if Legursky continues to play the way he did alongside Adams, Pouncey, Kemoeatu, and Starks on Sunday.
The Ravens are sure to provide more defensive pressure, and if they hope to give Batch enough time to throw down field in order to open room for the running game, they will have to continue to play mistake free football.