Ben Returns To Battle The Bengals

by Steelreign | Oct 27, 2015 - 1:36 AM
After four games without Ben Roethlisberger, where the Steelers went 2-2, it is looking like he will return to action next Sunday against their rivals, and division leaders, the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals. In the first of three straight games to be played at Heinz Field, the Steelers held Ben out one more week so that he could be more physically prepared to deal with this critical three game stretch that awaits them. Until his injury, Ben had gotten off to the best start of his career, throwing for 912 yards and 4 touchdown passes. Sundayís game against the Bengals will be the first time, in 2105, that the Steelers will have all of its offensive weapons on the field together. As great as LeVeon Bell has been without the presence of a passing game, he will be that much more dangerous with the return of Ben.

The two players that will benefit the most are Antonio Brown and Heath Miller. During the first three games, Miller caught 12 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. While he hasnít been one of Benís main weapons in recent years, he is still a valuable safety net. In the four games that Ben has been out, he has only caught 5 balls for 52 yards. 3 receptions and 46 of those yards came in the San Diego game. Other than that, Heath Miller has been almost non-existent within the offense. The guy who will benefit the most, and who has had the roughest time getting involved in an offense without Ben, has been Antonio Brown. During the first three games with Ben under center, AB caught 29 balls for 436 yards and 2 touchdowns, and was off to record breaking pace. During Benís absence, his production fell to just 17 receptions for 235 yards and no scores. Brown, who was begging for the ball, went from averaging right at 10 receptions per game with Ben, to just over 4 without him. Although he caught alot of flack for voicing his concerns over Vickís apparent lack of trust in him, Brown was coming from the position of, I canít help my team if I canít get the ball. That problem should be solved starting Sunday.

The biggest surprise this season had been the play of Keith Butlerís defense. While they have been giving up chunks of yardage, they have also been creating more turnovers and sacking the quarterback alot more often than they have in recent years. The silver lining in going 2-2 during Benís absence, is that the Steelers could have, and perhaps should have, won all four of them. Playing in such tightly contested games put alot... [Read More]
    9 Replies | 754 Views

Steelers Closing In On An NFL First

by Steelreign | Oct 23, 2015 - 3:13 PM
Not many NFL franchises can boast having one head coach who has won a hundred games or more for them, let alone have two of them. After next season, the Pittsburgh Steelers just might have three head coaches in their history that will have hit the century mark in career wins, all with Steelers. What is even more impressive, is that the mark will have been reached by their third head coach in a row. Since 1970, the Steelers have had only three head coaches, the fewest of any franchise by far. Chuck Noll was hired in 1969, Bill Cowher replaced Noll in 1992, and Mike Tomlin replaced Bill Cowher in 2007. From 1969-1991, Chuck Noll won 193 regular season games for the Steelers, Bill Cowher won 149 games from 1992-2006, and Mike Tomlin has won 86 from 2007-Present.

This coaching threesome has also achieved another obscure mark in 2010, when the Steelers became just the second NFL franchise, and the first in the AFC, to have three consecutive head coaches win a Super Bowl Championship. They also lead the NFL in coaching wins since 1970, that’s an average length of 15.3 years that each of the three men coached. Think about that for a minute, then consider that over the same period of time, the Cleveland Browns have had 17 head coaches, or, a new coach every 2.01 years. In the last 46 years, Noll, Cowher and Tomlin have combined for 428 regular season wins, while the 17 Cleveland Browns head coaches have combined for 253. In another comparison, let’s use the NFL’s second choice to be “America’s Team”, the Dallas Cowboys. Since 1969, the Cowboys have had 8 coaches, or a new coach every 5.75 years. Those 8 coaches combined for 386 wins. That’s 175 more wins that the Steelers three head coaches have over the Browns 17, and 46 wins more than the Cowboys 8 head coaches.

For the Steelers, the formula used to hire Noll, Cowher, and Tomlin was the same. They chose a young, relatively obscure defensive assistant with a clear vision on how to build a team through the draft. While all of their coaching styles have been different, they all have had one thing in common, a team first philosophy. How much different might things have been if the first candidate approached in 1969, Joe Paterno, had taken the job? I’m sure the Steelers would have certainly improved by comparison to where they had been, but not nearly to level as it stands today. It was definitely a blessing in disguise when Paterno said no,... [Read More]
    2 Replies | 637 Views

LeVeon Bell Is The Total Package

by Steelreign | Oct 16, 2015 - 12:14 PM
The Pittsburgh Steelers have had some great running backs throughout their history, like John Henry Johnson, Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis. There have been other running backs that have had some great seasons, like Barry Foster and Willie Parker, who recorded the longest touchdown run in Super Bowl history when he blew past the Seattle Seahawks defense for a 74 yard score in Super Bowl XL. While Johnson, Harris and Bettis were power backs, Parker was strictly speed. LeVeon Bell is a combination of all of them, and he just might be the best. When you look at what Bell has transformed himself into, a chiseled 215 pounder with 2.6% bodyfat, itís hard to believe he was 240 pounds coming out of Michigan State. From the moment Bell arrived in Pittsburgh, he put his head down and went right to work. Following a rookie season where he showed that he was a franchise running back in the making, he decided that he needed to work even harder, and proceeded to reshape himself into the physical freak that he is now.

In LeVeonís second season, he led the AFC in rushing and finished second in the NFL in total yards from scrimmage. Bell also recorded 200 total yards in three straight games, tying Walter Paytonís NFL record. There may not be a more patient running back in the NFL than number 26, or one with better vision. Itís absolutely amazing to watch him drift down the line, because when he finds his hole and plants that foot, he is gone. Once Bell reaches the second level of a defense he can run you over, run past you, and on occasion he can simply hurdle you. Either way, LeVeon Bellís skill set is very special and very rare. The work he puts into his craft is what sets him apart from everyone else. Even rarer than said skill set is how often he puts the ball on the ground. Out of 373 touches in 2014, Bell didnít fumble the ball one time. So far in 2015, he hasnít parted ways with the football either. As comfortable as he looks running the ball, LeVeon looks just as adept when he lines up as a wide receiver, and there is no doubt that if he chose to switch to wide receiver, he would be a starter.

As special of a player as Bell is, he seems to be just as good of a person. Recently, just prior to the San Diego Chargers game, a serviceman was walking off the field towards LeVeon and DeAngelo Williams. This serviceman asked if he could take their pictures and instead of letting it go at just that, Bell and Williams invited him to have his... [Read More]
    1 Reply | 599 Views

Ben Roethlisberger: How Much Do We Take Him For Granted

by Steelreign | Oct 16, 2015 - 4:41 AM
ike a good neighbor Ben Roethlisberger is there. Just like the famous tag line for State Farm, Ben Roethlisberger is always there, except for when he is not. When Ben is not there, itís usually not for very long and because of an injury that he canít overcome no matter how hard he tries to will himself. Big Ben has had his share of injuries throughout his career and itís in these moments that he canít play that we truly realize just how important and valuable this franchise quarterback is. The Steelers record for the eleven games that Ben has missed throughout his career is 5-6, which isnít horrible or an indictment of his teammates, but it clearly points out that he is the straw that stirs the drink when you look at the talent that were on these teams over the years.

In 2004, when Big Ben took over for an Injured Tommy Maddox, He was not much more than a game manager. However, from his first snap, through the rest of his rookie season, the skills that made him a special, prototypical quarterback were very apparent. Benís most underrated attribute has been his ability to play with pain, something that Steelernation has come to appreciate and respect over the years. A few examples being that he finished a game against Cleveland, after suffering a very painful high ankle sprain, and led the Steelers to a tough win. Against Baltimore, Hali Ngata broke Benís nose on a play where a penalty should have been called. Instead of knocking Ben out, it only seemed to anger him as he lead the Steelers to a Come from behind victory. What other quarterback, besides Ben Roethlisberger, would play with cracked ribs where there was a risk of his aorta being punctured? There isnít a quarterback who would have been able to play, let alone function at that high of a level.

Watching Ben do what Ben does, time and time again, tends to seem ďnormalĒ now to those who witness his exploits on a weekly basis. Itís what has come to be expected out of him. The amazing part is that under Todd Haley, Ben is getting even better and staying healthier. These are the first games he is missing since the 2012 season and itís almost a case of ďdonít know what you got ítil itís goneĒ. After last Thursdayís Baltimore loss, it became evident just how much his presence is taken for granted. Mike Vick played pretty well considering he only had one day of practice to develop any sort of chemistry with his receivers, but itís hard not to believe, that had Ben been... [Read More]
    12 Replies | 748 Views

Steelers Adapt To New Script In 3-2 Start

by Steelreign | Oct 16, 2015 - 4:36 AM
The Original Script:

It was supposed to be the offense that was supposed to carry the Steelers until the the young defense began to gel as a unit. DeAngelo Williams was going to hold things down until LeVeon Bell returned, while Derrius Heyward-Bey would stretch defenses until Martavis Bryant finished his suspension. Williams led the league in rushing during his starting role, while Bey seems to have developed a reliable pair of hands. Antonio Brown was once again shredding defenses as he extended his 5 catch-50 yard per game streak to 34 games. What wasnít supposed to happen, was the MCL Sprain/Bone bruise that has kept Ben Roethlisberger out since the early part of the win over the St. Louis Rams, just as the offense was starting to roll.

Life without Big Ben:

Due to a season ending injury to backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, the Steelers brought in 14 year veteran Michael Vick. Bringing the first pick of the 2001 NFL Draft was a sound decision, although nobody anticipated the need to use him this much, so quickly. With Vick under center, the Steelers held on to beat the Rams and have split the two games he has started. Although he played well enough for the Steelers to win both of his starts, the offense is clearly not as efficient or effective without Roethlisberger. This really isnít a knock against Vick, due to the fact that he is new to the system and simply hasnít had the time to develop the chemistry with the receivers. At this point, Vickís role is to protect the football and manage the game, and to not be the one to lose it.

The one thing that Vick needs to do however, is to get Antonio Brown involved more. Heíll need to use Brownís playmaking abilities against Arizona, to help loosen up the running lanes for Bell. It also wouldnít hurt Vick to move out of the pocket more so he can see his receivers better, and to create more plays with his legs. Still, Benís absence shows just how valuable he truly is. With Ben, this is about the most explosive offense in the league. Without Ben, itís a unit that has some very talented individuals that struggles to consistently move the ball and put points on the board.

The Steelers revised script:

Initially, the idea was that the offense would have to carry this team until the young defense started to come together. Almost from the start of the season though, these young guys have been carrying their own weight,... [Read More]
    1 Reply | 435 Views

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