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Steelers film session: Roethlisberger excels during no-huddle offense opportunities

| Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, 10:45 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws a pass to Emmanuel Sanders during the second quarter Monday, Sept. 16, 2013 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton scrambles past the Steelers' Brett Keisel and Ryan Clark during the third quarter Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws a long pass to Emmanuel Sanders during the second quarter Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

Ben Roethlisberger isn't shy about letting it be known how much he likes to run the no-huddle offense.

It's probably because when he does call his own plays, the offense usually marches down the field.

That's what happened Monday in the Steelers 20-10 loss to the Bengals.

Roethlisberger completed 6 of 10 passes for 103 yards out of the no huddle, including two of the three longest plays the Steelers had — a 43-yard run-and-catch by Emmanuel Sanders that set up their only touchdown and a 31-yard completion to Jerricho Cotchery.

Roethlisberger's numbers, however, are a little skewed by the situation of the game. He completed 3-of-5 for 52 yards after the Bengals took a two-score lead midway through the fourth quarter.

When Roethlisberger wasn't in the no-huddle, he completed 14 of 27 for 148 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Other observations

• The Steelers spent the better part of the offseason overhauling their running scheme to the outside zone in order to help the run game. However, through two games (31 rushing attempts), the Steelers used the outside zone just once. The Steelers didn't use that technique once against the Bengals.

• The Steelers' woes on first down continued. They had 22 first-down plays in the game and managed only 3.5 yards per play. Take away the two first downs they converted on first down, and they averaged 1.7 yards per play. That put the Steelers in 2nd-and-9 the majority of the game thus explaining the 3-of-12 third-down conversions.

• Jarvis Jones more than doubled his snaps (60) during his first career start and was disruptive at times, but he had trouble getting pressure on Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton when he rushed from his right outside linebacker position because of Pro Bowl tackle Andrew Whitworth. The only time Jones hit or pressured Dalton was when he blitzed from the inside during sub-package football. Jones rushed the quarterback in 20 of his 60 snaps.

• Center Fernando Velasco was a bright spot on the offensive line despite the Steelers inability to run the ball. Velasco, who was signed a week ago and didn't start taking first-team snaps at practice until Friday, didn't allow a sack or a pressure against a pretty formidable Cincinnati defensive line. Velasco did particularly well helping out guards Ramon Foster and David DeCastro. One play early in the game, Velasco snapped the ball, helped Foster to the left, helped DeCastro to the right then scraped off and got to the second level to put a block on linebacker Vontez Burfict.

• Roethlisberger has been a pretty accurate quarterback over his career with a completion percentage of 63 percent. Against the Bengals, something was amiss when it came to Roethlisberger and his receivers. Out of Roethlisberger's 17 incompletions, nine were overthrown. A couple of those could be the fault of the receivers, but Roethlisberger was far from accurate against the Bengals. He overthrew Cotchery four times and Sanders three times.

• The Steelers running game has been far from good through the first two games, accounting for only 75 yards. Against the Bengals, the struggles continued, but you can't blame offensive coordinator Todd Haley for trying different ways to jump-start the run game. Out of the 14 rushes by running backs, only seven came out of a non-shotgun or hurry-up formation and gained a mere 10 yards. Not once did the Steelers run the ball when fullback Will Johnson was in the game, and only two runs were called when there were more than two tight ends in the formation.

• The Steelers haven't used rookie receiver Markus Wheaton much at all. Wheaton played only five snaps against the Bengals, running his season total to 12. He has yet to be targeted.

Good game

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley didn't have a sack, but did put a lot of pressure on Andy Dalton. Woodley had four pressures and a pair of hits on Dalton out of the 28 times he rushed the passer.

Not a good game

Tackle Mike Adams and guard David DeCastro didn't have good games at all. DeCastro was pushed around a couple of times by Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins and Adams allowed four quarterback hurries and two quarterback hits.

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