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Aggressive playcalling by Arians keyed Steelers victory

Ben Roethlisberger, Bryan Thomas, Sione Pouha

There will be no false alarms about Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians losing his job this year.  The complaints about Arians not preferring “Steelers Football” are just a memory.

On the biggest play of the season, Arians called for an empty backfield with five wide receivers.   CBS analyst Phil Simms wanted the Steelers to run the ball, milk the clock, and punt with under 1:20 to go.   Instead, Arians smartly stayed aggressive.

“We weren’t going to play not to lose,”  coach Mike Tomlin said. “That’s pretty funny isn’t it? A third-and-6 to win the game for a rookie from Central Michigan.”

The rookie was Antonio Brown, who caught a 14-yard pass to ice a trip to the Super Bowl.

“I always feel blessed to have my number called,” Brown said. “But Ben made the play.”

Many conservative coaches would have played it safer.   Arians also called a pass on second-and-nine earlier in the drive that resulted in a first down to Heath Miller.   The Steelers didn’t wait until third and long to put the ball in the hands of their best offensive player — Roethlisberger.
“Steelers Football” is no longer three yards and a cloud of dust.  It’s about being aggressive on both sides of the ball.
Steelers fans should be happy they have a coordinator with the guts to play to win and go with five wide receivers on the biggest snap of the season.
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28 Responses to “Aggressive playcalling by Arians keyed Steelers victory”
  1. blackngoldimmortals says: Jan 24, 2011 9:13 AM

    His playcalling rocked in the first half but sucked the second until that series. Arians got to predictable for that stretch and while it worked it the first half the jets adjusted, he didn’t.

  2. jc1958coo says: Jan 24, 2011 9:14 AM

    big ben is going to get a faceful of clay mathews!
    we’ll see how he throws then! CAIN’T WAIT

  3. joetoronto says: Jan 24, 2011 9:18 AM

    They never should have been in that position to start with though.

    It was Arians’ bad play calling that kept the Jets in the game, in the 2nd half.

  4. vintwok says: Jan 24, 2011 9:21 AM

    Steelers fans are happy because we ran the ball down their throats and finally shut up Rex Ryan and Fart Scott for the rest of this season.

    CAN’T WAIT for the Superbowl!

  5. boysroll says: Jan 24, 2011 9:29 AM

    big ben looked horrible last night. Lets face it….the 1st SB won and the game last night he looked abmismal. The only reason this team wins is running the ball and playing good defense which makes them a very boring team to watch….

    Packers 35-pitt 7 is my prediction as you cant rely on ben to carry you.

  6. 1brownsfansdotcom says: Jan 24, 2011 9:30 AM

    No, crappy defense and offense by the NYJ’s keyed the Steelers victory.

  7. steeelfann says: Jan 24, 2011 9:30 AM

    jc1958coo says: Jan 24, 2011 9:14 AM

    big ben is going to get a faceful of clay mathews!
    we’ll see how he throws then! CAIN’T WAIT
    ——————–

    Oh boy, not again. Is this Rex?

  8. ajc33635 says: Jan 24, 2011 9:40 AM

    Interesting that Antonio Brown was aquired with the pick received for Santonio Holmes.

  9. daryllh says: Jan 24, 2011 9:45 AM

    Jan 24, 2011 9:14 AM
    big ben is going to get a faceful of clay mathews!
    we’ll see how he throws then! CAIN’T WAIT
    ——————————————-
    yeah yeah…James Harrison

    you know, for every person that says ‘so and so is going to bring it!’, etc, there is a fan of the other team that can find either an equalizer or the same type of player on the other team.

    these teams are pretty much a carbon copy of each other.

  10. daryllh says: Jan 24, 2011 9:59 AM

    big ben looked horrible last night. Lets face it….the 1st SB won and the game last night he looked abmismal. The only reason this team wins is running the ball and playing good defense which makes them a very boring team to watch….

    Packers 35-pitt 7 is my prediction as you cant rely on ben to carry you.
    ==============================

    and Rodgers day was better? I mean, it was in a QB rating sense but he also ran for a TD and threw 2 picks.

  11. katmanduu says: Jan 24, 2011 9:59 AM

    I’m amused at the idiots who are already posting that Pittsburgh is going to lose. Come on folks….the Steelers will win the Super Bowl. Ben will have a huge game (as usual), the defense will be stifling (as usual). For anyone who thinks Green Bay will win that game will be very disappointed come late Sunday night in a few weeks….

  12. xtb3 says: Jan 24, 2011 10:00 AM

    passing on 3rd and 6 – short pass no less – is not what one calls aggressive!

  13. youboettcha says: Jan 24, 2011 10:05 AM

    I’m pretty sure that 3rd-and-19 last week still ranks as the biggest play of their season.

  14. MovieGoober says: Jan 24, 2011 10:06 AM

    Arians play-calling has improved markedly this year and often times he’s been less aggressive. Last year the Steelers were in shotgun on 3rd and ones more often than not and it NEVER worked.

    He’s seemed more open to trick plays and pounding the ball this years.

    The aggressive call worked this year because he was less predictable.

  15. Pooped says: Jan 24, 2011 10:27 AM

    Ben had a great game. Statistically he kind of sucked but he made the plays when he had to and he ran for a score. Anyone who said he had a bad game didn’t watch and is looking at the box score only.

    Also, I loved the call to pass on third down on the pass to Brown. Even if he dropped it it would have been the correct call.

  16. pghguyy says: Jan 24, 2011 10:28 AM

    the steelers offense wasnt on the field in the third quater. didnt have much of a chanche to play bad except for the saftey. prvent defense is what let the jets comeback. watch the film.

  17. pittsixtimechamp says: Jan 24, 2011 10:44 AM

    Ben rushed for three Big firstdowns and a TD. It’s hard to get a rhythm when you run 15 out of 18 plays. It happens though when the run is working so well. One of the INT’s was the equal to a good punt. It is strange however how similar of a game it was to Rogers game.

  18. blaz0037 says: Jan 24, 2011 11:13 AM

    He is a genius because it worked.

    He would be labeled an idiot if it didn’t.

    Its about the players executing.

  19. originalsteelcurtain says: Jan 24, 2011 11:18 AM

    I’ve been bashing Arians for years…too predictable, not enough imagination.

    It seems like the light bulb came on for Arians after the *Pats loss this year (thanks *BB!).
    He’s called more imaginative game plans lately.

    Arians was too conservative in the 2nd half yesterday though, but he made the ballsey 3rd down pass calls that iced the game.

  20. greoss77 says: Jan 24, 2011 11:24 AM

    -
    boysroll says: Jan 24, 2011 9:29 AM

    big ben looked horrible last night. Lets face it….the 1st SB won and the game last night he looked abmismal. The only reason this team wins is running the ball and playing good defense which makes them a very boring team to watch….

    Packers 35-pitt 7 is my prediction as you cant rely on ben to carry you.
    _____________________________________

    Boysroll,,,you are obviously a Cowboys fan. Must suck to see the Steelers headed to your house to play for the Vince Lombardi trophy.
    ANYBODY that says Ben was abysmal last night, doesn’t know jack about football and I would be wasting my time trying to explain how well he did play against a very tough defence.
    As for his first Superbowl, in his second year as a pro, yes, he did struggle, but lets not forget he knocked off the #1,2 & 3 seeds in the AFC that year, all on the road, and make no mistake, HE was the reason they were there.
    Try watching the game instead of just looking at the stats after the game is over, but if you are like most Cowboy fans I know, you lost interest in the NFL months ago.

  21. citizenstrange says: Jan 24, 2011 11:46 AM

    Gotta love Roethlisberger hanging a sweet 17 points on the Jets to go along with his smokin’ 35.5 QB rating.

  22. Deb says: Jan 24, 2011 12:02 PM

    Been saying all along that Arians was capable of better play-calling than he was giving us. Loved the play-calling in the first half, and thought the season was a vast improvement over last year. Wasn’t thrilled, though, with what seemed to be a relaxed defense once we reached 24-0. We let them get into field-goal range a little too easily before the half.

  23. holeinone09 says: Jan 24, 2011 12:03 PM

    boysroll? Is you team home right now? What is your QB doing right now? Give the Jets credit for having a fantastic pass defense, just like they used against Manning and Brady in the playoffs. But, when it counted, they couldn’t stop Ben from getting first downs both running and passing. Neither Manning nor Brady could have run for the first downs or scrambled to complete the passes that Ben did. Ben is a winner, and finds ways to win. Get real and be honest. And go look at the “body of work”, and try to have some credibility. When this is over, Ben will likely have 3 trophies already, which takes work over a period of time to acquire. How many does your team’s QB have? That’s what I thought. I’ll take Ben over your QB any day pal.

    GO STEELERS!!

  24. masteel says: Jan 24, 2011 12:10 PM

    HEY!! Woo – Slow down ….

    Bruce Arians has been cruxified by Steeler fans and the press – many times during his tenure as Off. Coor. but he made the right calls and Ben made the throws that had to be made.

    Both of them deserve nothing BUT praise. They helped the Steelers WIN. The Jets were on one of those weird rolls ..that come along with hot teams. And Pittsburgh – especially the Defense set the tone in the 1st half.

    You cannot blame Ben for the first pick on that 4th down – Mendenhall let it slip thru his hands. He makes that catch it’s first down. Ben did make the 2nd pick – that was his fault. Bruce put the Offense in a position with his game plan – to win. Mendenhall was a BEAST, he ran all over the place. He turned a minimum of 3 run plays which could have lost yards into positive plus yards. HE was the MVP for Steelers as well as the entire Defensive Unit. That 4th down STUFF was incredible. An 8 minute drive and the Jets had to score – STOPPED. Wow …it’s not Ben’s fault Pouncey got injured. And as much as Legursky stepped in and played SO well he made a bad snap. That you could tell was a QB sneak to gain a yard or two. A very significant yard since I’m sure Mendenhall would have gotten the 2nd down – run/carry. And yeah ….a 3rd down off tackle carry. That was a spot where Steelers had to be predictable and run. NOT give the Jets a pick or whatever. On that – it didn’t work.

    AND the Special Teams – bravo. You didn’t give them any real field position. Except when our Kicker booted the ball out of bounds giving the Jets the 40 ….which led to the FG before the half.

    THANK You, Bruce Arians, Coach Tomlin, Ben, Mendenhall, Ike (big play) Taylor, A. Brown WR, Heath, and everybody.

  25. tobiasjodter says: Jan 24, 2011 12:38 PM

    Pooped says:
    Jan 24, 2011 10:27 AM
    Ben had a great game. Statistically he kind of sucked but he made the plays when he had to and he ran for a score. Anyone who said he had a bad game didn’t watch and is looking at the box score only.

    ———————

    Yeah, I get tired of arguing with the modern fantasy football league folks. I just got finished arguing with some dude who proved to me that Matt Schaub (6-10) is a better QB than Big Ben. Oh, well… the QB rating system just doesn’t take into account rushing for 3 critical 1st downs… not to mention the rushing TD and 5 or 6 top notch out of the pocket completions…

    I’ve been a big critic of BA myself but he did an excellent job last night! There were a number of sequences where the play-calling was brilliant in keeping the Jet’s D off-balance and guessing.

  26. greoss77 says: Jan 24, 2011 1:03 PM

    QB ratings are for stats geeks.
    Winning percentage is for winners.
    I’ll take Super Bowls any day over 300 yd passing games.

  27. spyboots says: Jan 24, 2011 2:31 PM

    I believe Ben has said he doesn’t care about personal stats, just W’s.

  28. ineptguy6 says: Jan 24, 2011 7:20 PM

    Regardless of the result and what any analyst says, the 5 wide looks on 3rd and short are bad. Last night the Steelers were running the ball effectively. To take away even the threat of a run only makes things easier on the defense. With no one in the backfield, the defense can tee off. No problem if you want to throw it, or even come out with 4 wide, but with only a few yards to go, you have a credible threat to run and should use that to keep the defense guessing.

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