Week 12: Sprint Gameball Goes To Rashard Mendenhall

ORCHARD PARK NY - NOVEMBER 28: Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after rushing for a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 28 2010 in Orchard Park New York. (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)

In my initial two recaps of the Pittsburgh Steelers' Week 12 win over the Buffalo Bills, I didn't devote much space to crediting Rashard Mendenhall for his oustanding, workman-like performance. Let's take a look at Mendenhall's numbers from the 19-16 overtime win this past Sunday in Buffalo.


vs BUF / 11.28.10 Rushing Receiving
Rush Yards Avg TD Rec Yards Avg TD
Rashard Mendenhall 36 151 4.2 1 0 0 0 0


Through 11 games, Mendenhall's season totals now stand at...


Rushing Receiving
G Rush Yds Y/G Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng TD
2010 - Rashard Mendenhall 11 238 962 87.5 4 50 9 16 98 8.9 6.1 17 0


A few thoughts and notes on Mendenhall's performance against the Bills, as well as his season-to-date.

  • The 36 carries easily exceeded Mendy's previous career-high of 29 set last season against the San Diego Chargers.
  • With those 36 carries, Mendenhall now leads the NFL with 238 rushing attempts through 11 games. Who says Bruce Arians hasn't stayed true to his commitment to running the ball more? More on the high volume of carries already under No. 34's belt soon. 
  • The 151 rushing yards were the third highest single-game total of Mendenhall's career (165, 155, both in '08)
  • Mendnehall's totals would have been even higher if not for several holding penalties that negated positive yardage, including a 42-yarder.
  • Mendenhall's 962 yards are good for 7th best in the NFL with five games remaining. Mendenhall trails Arian Foster of the Texans by 184 yards.

All told, it was an exceptional performance, even if not a flashy one defined by highlight reel runs. Mendenhall has established himself as one of the game's preeminent backs this season after being somewhat limited in his workload a year ago. How Arians and Mike Tomlin manage his carries in the forthcoming weeks should be quite interesting. My hunch is that Mewelde Moore and Isaac Redman will continue to play a decent number of snaps. But if the Steelers are in tight games and have a chance to make a run at a first round playoff bye, you better believe Mendenhall will continue to get plenty of carries as the Steelers head down the home stretch of the 2010 regular season.

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