Give Mike Tomlin credit. He wasn’t too proud, too stubborn, or predictable. He realized that the Steelers had some glaring weaknesses caused by both injuries and personnel decisions over the past few years.
He realized that this team is not built for a power running attack. He spread out the field, employing three wide receiver sets for the majority of the game, and he used four wide receiver sets from time to time. A very good mix of a no huddle offense and timely running plays was a recipe for success.
The result was a 26-21 victory for the Pittsburgh Steelers over an upstart Jacksonville Jaguars team. Ben Roethlisberger was 26-of-41 (that’s right, 41 attempts) for 309 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Ben went over 300 yards for the fifth time in his career, and the first time since 2006.
Mewelde Moore filled in quite capably for an injury riddled backfield. Moore carried 17 times for 99 yards, an average of 5.8 yards per carry. The Steelers amassed 129 total yards rushing on 25 attempts, 5.2 yards per carry.
Not bad numbers for a team whose offensive line is in “disarray.” Not bad for a quarterback who supposedly can’t be successful when he is asked to throw the ball 40 times per game. Not bad for a team who has lost their last four meetings against the Jaguars.
The Steelers should not, and will not, make this type of offense their cornerstone. They will get healthy, and they will go back to running the ball more often. However, they realized that they can employ this type of attack when necessary. And they should also realize that there was no criticism of their offensive line play last night. They were put in a position to succeed.
Running the ball is paramount to success in the NFL. However, it’s not how much you run. It is how effectively you run. The Steelers ran effectively and thus, passed effectively, and blocked effectively.
It also helps to have a dominant defense.