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Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Line Leading Resurgent Rushing Attack

November 6th, 2012 at 10:34 PM
By Mark Mihalko

Three weeks ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers were reeling. Their once dominant defense was consistently giving up fourth quarter leads, the running game was non-existent and injuries decimated their offensive line. Fast forward to today and those issues seem like a past nightmare.

'MRR_0102' photo (c) 2006, SteelCityHobbies - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
In the past three weeks, all of those areas have come together and given the once stumbling Steelers momentum and a three-game winning streak. What was the turnaround? No one will know for sure, but one thing is certain, when the Steelers emerged from halftime against the Cincinnati Bengals, something changed. That something was their attitude on both sides of the ball. Their defense got physical, their offensive line got physical and the running backs stopped dancing and ran with power.

Many thought that running back Jonathan Dwyer was the reason. The seldom used running back burst onto the scene with back-to-back 100-yard games and looked like the feature back that the Steelers hoped they drafted when they grabbed Rashard Mendenhall in the first round of the draft. He was dynamic, he ran with power, and he carried himself like a standout NFL caliber running back. resurgent

While that may still be the case, something happened this past Sunday when Isaac Redman took the helm with Dwyer inactive with a quad injury and looked unstoppable. The powerful battering ram ran with vision and power and led the way with 147-yards on 27 carries and 1 touchdown. Sure, both running backs played inspired, but what changed that allowed the one-time next to last ranked rushing attack to gain ten spots in three weeks. Think about it, different backs, and same results. That leaves one of two things, or a combination of those two; play calling or offensive line play.

Actually, in some ways these go hand and hand, as offensive coordinator Todd Haley has done a great job calling plays and game planning over the past three weeks. Especially when you consider that, the offensive line was playing with rookie tackle Mike Adams filling in for injured right tackle Marcus Gilbert. While many fans cringed as memories of Adams being abused in his first preseason game were still dancing through their head, Adams has quietly stepped in and solidified the offensive line in the running game.

Yes, Adams is not yet an accomplished pass blocker and at times looks overmatched against speed rushers, but he is a bull in the running game and has shown just enough in the pass game not to be a total liability. Couple that with guard Willie Colon seeming to finally grasp the intricacies of the position after moving inside during the offseason. Of course, this boon could end, and the running game could disappear. For Steelers fans, they hope that does not happen. They hope that the Steelers that took the field for the past three weeks are the Steelers who take the field for the rest of 2012. 

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Tags: Football, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Mike Adams, NFL, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rashard Mendenhall, Willie Colon

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