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Insider Only Post-Detroit Observations: Steelers went away from the running game too early?

Week 5 Steelers Observations
*A concerning theme for the Steelers through five weeks of the season is the inability to put inferior teams away. Again on Sunday, the Steelers held a double digit lead and let the Lions hang around.
*The Colts and Giants are the two best teams in football right now. Why? They are putting inferior teams away by the middle of the 3rd quarter.
Steelers need more from LaMarr Woodley
The biggest disappointment through the first five games is starting outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley. Woodley had somewhat of a breakout game finishing the game with 1.5 sacks and 4 tackles but both sacks were coverage sacks.
He’s looked a bit slow when dropping back into coverage and just hasn’t been as explosive when rushing the passer that we were accustomed to seeing last year.

Mendenhall averages 5.1 yards per carry on only 15 carries
Putting the ball in Ben Roethlisberger’s hands is never a bad thing but offensive coordinator Bruce Arians made a major blunder going away from the run in the second half.
Mendenhall had 65 first half yards on 9 rushes but only had 6 carries in the second half.
Arians indicated after the game that he got a bit greedy.
*Mendenhall has been very impressive in two starts and the running game is starting to open up the passing game. Ben Roethlisberger indicated after the game that he called a play-action pass at the line of scrimmage in the second quarter which led to Hines Ward’s 17 yard touchdown reception.
Roethlisberger credited the threat of running the ball as the reason Ward was so wide open.
In college Mendenhall showed the ability to catch the ball out of the back field and he’s starting to show signs of that for the Steelers.
Wallace rebounds from TD drop
Mike Wallace had his Limas Sweed moment dropping what would have been a 71 yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Wallace rebounded in the 3rd quarter catching a 47 yard TD reception in the third quarter, (1st career TD pass)
Wallace is clearly a speed burner and can stretch the field but his route running inside 10-15 yards needs some work.
*Sweed was the target of one pass on the Steelers first drive. Sweed ran a quick slant and the pass was low and to the side but he’s at the point where he has to make that catch.
Ziggy Hood gets 1st team reps
*2009 1st round pick Ziggy Hood had 1 tackle and got some playing time in the first half. The Steelers are expected to slowly work Hood into the rotation by mid-season.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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