ShareThis Page

Steelers display revived run game vs. Eagles

| Friday, Aug. 19, 2011

It wasn't necessarily Ground Chuck revisited, but the Steelers dusted off the power run game and spotlighted the fullback against Philadelphia on Thursday night.

Despite a patchwork, inexperienced offensive line, the Steelers found great success against the Eagles' defensive line of Jason Babin, Anthony Hargrove and Cullen Jenkins — all highly touted offseason acquisitions.

Jonathan Dwyer rushed for 44 yards, Rashard Mendenhall 30 and Isaac Redman 26 as the Steelers powered their way to 403 total yards — 144 on the ground — in their 24-14 win over the Eagles last night at Heinz Field.

"That's Steelers football," Redman said. "We want to run the ball, be physical. Every running back that went in there ran hard."

The run game helped the Steelers hold on to the ball for nearly 40 minutes, including all but seven minutes in the first half, as they took a 21-0 lead.

"Any time you can run the ball and run the ball effectively as an offensive line, you love that," said lineman Tony Hills, who played right guard and left tackle.

The Steelers employed a fullback at times — something that offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has shied away from over the past couple of years. Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, David Johnson and Jamie McCoy all lined up at the position.

Not usually a proponent of the fullback — let alone handing him the ball — Arians ran a number of plays out of power formations and gave the ball to the fullback a handful of times — one of which resulted in a key Dwyer 6-yard run and a first down late in the first quarter.

"They came to me and asked me to play some fullback, and I said sure," said Dwyer, who played fullback his three years at Georgia Tech. "I felt comfortable doing it."

After leading, 7-0, on a first-quarter touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown, the Steelers went to the ground on their next drive, with great success.

"I think we started to get into a rhythm, and we overcame some penalties we had," receiver Hines Ward said. "We all need to be on the same page and execute."

Seven of their first eight plays in a 14-play, 96-yard touchdown drive were runs. The Steelers ran nine times on the drive for 49 yards behind an offensive line that never played a game together until last night.

"All running backs get in a rhythm will multiple carries," Redman said. "The offensive line did a great job coming off the ball."

The first-team line was reshuffled because of an injury to starting left tackle Jonathan Scott, who left after one play with a knee injury.

In fact, the Steelers used four offensive line combinations in the first half, with the first team on the field.

Not one position remained the same throughout the first half, but the running backs still found some gaping holes. The Steelers know there is a lot of room for improvement.

"None of us are jumping for joy," tackle Willie Colon said. "When we step on the field, we expect to be the most physical team."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.