There is no identity crisis with this Steelers team.
Perhaps they talk about “establishing the run” or building the offense around Rashard Mendenhall, but their play-calling tells a different story.
Ed Bouchette of the Pittsbugh Post-Gazette breaks down the numbers. The Steelers are an average running team in every respect. They excel when Ben Roethlisberger throws it deep, which he is doing with increasing numbers.
The Steelers throw the ball 67.5% of the time. Roethlisberger is on pace to break his own Steelers passing yardage record.
“I think [offensive coordinator] Bruce Arians is doing a great job of understanding the talent that he has,” receiver Emmanuel Sanders said. “He’s putting in practices, he’s putting in plays that go toward our strengths as receivers. Mike [Wallace] is a burner, A.B. [Antonio Brown] is a playmaker, I’m a playmaker. He’s putting in plays that are paying off.”
The Steelers are a passing team. Heck, the Patriots have rushed for more yards than the Steelers for four straight seasons.
It sounds insane, but Hines Ward’s injury this week may work to Pittsburgh’s advantage. No team gives up big plays like the Patriots, who just cut Leigh Bodden and will be without rookie cornerback Ras-I Dowling.
Pittsburgh is at its most explosive when Sanders, Brown, and Wallace are on the field together. Bruce Arians knows it.