I'd like to address the topic of our lack of a power running game that most announcers (and some on this board) continue to lament adnauseam.
Let me say up front it IS important that we run the ball...but:
1. I feel our "identity" as an offense in 2008 should be the same it was in our 2006 playoff run and SB win...pass first to get the lead and then run.
2. And speaking of the SB, take away FWP 75 yard TD run and it's a different game. That play swung the momentum big time. If Bettis is in on that play, he probably gains 20 yards instead of a TD and who know we may end up settling for a field goal.
3. It is almost impossible to physically dominant a playoff/SB caliber defense by running it down their throat. In those games, you must pass first to loosen the defense up and then run the ball.
4. Historically, for the years when we had our dominant "power" running game and mediocre passing game (K. Stewart), the dominant defenses (Baltimore, NE etc) would stuff us at the LOS. I have vivid memories of Bettis stuck 3 yards in the backfield, time and time again, in those big playoff games. They would force us to throw and we lost.
5. I also find it ironic, our second to last trip to SB in 1995/6, that our offense was much more pass orientated. I don't know where we ranked in rushing, but I do remember Neil O'Donnel and the 5 receiver sets (Mills, Slash, Hastings, Thigpen?, ?) being the thrust of the offense. Our RB's Eric Peagram and Bam Morris were good but seemed to provide just enough balance to make it work. Even though Bam was big, I don't think we were considered a "power" running team. Again, we semed to "pass" our way to the SB. (btw, I was actually at the game...had a perfect view of the ball flying near Hatings while he never broke off his route!!!...but I digress)
6. Why pass on 3rd and 2? It seems to be the new trend for most teams in the league. 3rd and 2 or 3 yards spread it out and find the open receiver. I know some on the board have voiced a desire to ram it down the other teams throats in such situations. IMO, I don't care how we convert as long as we do.
7. Offensive personnel. From our OLine, to our $100M QB, to our 210lb backs...we are not a Power running team. Thats okay with me. Just because we may not be a "power" running team does not mean that we can't be effective running the ball!!
I happen to think that FWP, MM, GR (and a OLine thats starting to gel) can give us what we need from the running game. Very similar, in my view, the way Eric Peagram and Bam did in 1995/6.
So please, can we stop longing for the days of a power running game and the days of Jerome Bettis. Lets stop talking about acquiring a "power' back like Brandon Jacobs.
I know the 2008 offensive stats are down...but it doesn't matter. Game by game improvements....get a little offensive momentum going...effective running game...controlled passing...take our deep shots...no huddle to provide a spark...limit turnovers...just move the chains baby...
To sum up...I am so tired of all the TV and radio people say the Steelers need to go back to "old Steeler football" of power running and 3 yards and a cloud of dust. It seems to me, and history proves, that we need to be able to throw to win against playoff/SB caliber defenses.