STEELERS – THURSDAY
By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers offense has scored just four touchdowns in three games, and two are by Antonio Brown.
If the Steelers (0-3) are going to beat the Minnesota Vikings (0-3) Sunday in London, they likely will need to get contributions from more players on offense.
“We’re going up against another 0-3 team this week in the Minnesota Vikings, and we’re very hungry for a win,” Brown said Thursday. “I felt like we had a spark last week, and I believe we made some great strides in the right direction.
“I feel like we did some good things in the running game and some good things in the passing game. And now, it’s time for us to put it all together.”
Brown tallied nine catches for 196 yards and those two scores against the Chicago Bears last week. But he was the only offensive player to make strides. The Steelers still have issues running the ball, although the return of Le’Veon Bell could boost that sagging running attack.
“He’s a special player, and he can do some good things with his feet,” Brown said. “He’s a great blitz pickup guy, and we’re glad to have him back on the field. (But) we need everyone working together to get back on track.”
The Steelers also can’t turn the ball over as often as they did against the Bears. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger accounted for four of the team’s five turnovers with two fumbles lost and two interceptions, so that has to change drastically this week.
“That was part of my frustration after the game on Monday and Tuesday,” Roethlisberger said. “I don’t feel like I’m pressing. I don’t feel like I’m trying to do too much. I know I’ve done that. At the end of last year, I really felt like I was pressing too much and trying to do too much and put too much on my shoulders. I don’t feel like I’ve done that this year.
“And that’s why I’m so frustrated that things haven’t turned out the way that I’ve wanted them to. I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing and not trying to overcorrect anything, be even better and eliminate all these things because I think it takes you out of your own element, your own game plan. So, I’m just going to keep doing what I do and be smart with the ball.”
The Steelers also are able to get a healthy Heath Miller back for a second game after getting his feet wet last week. Miller caught three passes for 35 yards, but maybe he could be more of a part of the offense this week.
“I hope so,” Miller said. “I think we’ve made some progress, and we’re getting better. So, we’ve got to keep working hard, chipping away and working at it to find a way to continue to get better. That’s our goal this week.”
It won’t be easy against the Vikings, who have a better than average defense.
“They’re really good,” Roethlisberger said. “A lot like (the Bears), they’re opportunistic and ball-searching. If the defensive line isn’t getting pressure, they’re getting their hands up in the air. They’re batting them down. Similar to last week, as rushers go by, they’re trying to strip at balls. So, very similar to (the Bears). A good test for us.”
It’s also a must-win situation for the Steelers, if they want to salvage this season and even think about making the playoffs.
“Every one is a must win for us, but we’d like to get a win before we go into the bye week,” Roethlisberger said. “So, we might as well try and leave the country and try something.”
The Steelers have a bye next week and visit the New York Jets Oct. 13.