After all of the frustation with Bruce Arians over the past few seasons, he came out today and called a brilliant game. Yes, you have to have the horses to run 5 receiver sets and you have to have time to throw it, but because of the play calling, the Steelers' took advantage of the talent on offense.
So, what did Coach Arians do differently? First, he started the game with 3 TEs which push edge pass rushers farther outside giving Ben time to find the open receivers when an unblocked pass rusher comes from the edge. He attacked the Patriots weakness which is pass defense. He waited to put the offense into the no-huddle to start the second half. Why is that important? Because the Patriots did not have the chance to make adjustments to the no-huddle at half time. He ran enough screens to keep the defense honest, ran the ball based on the defense that the Patriots were playing. In the past, the Steelers would stubbornly continue to run regardless of the success. It is absolutely important to run the ball because in most games, running the ball keeps our defense fresher, but only successful running when first downs are made. However today, the game plan was to pass the ball to set up the run, which allowed our running game to be effective with Mendenhall averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Arians also called for formations that would keep running backs and/or tight ends that would stay in to block or chip pass rushers.
In the past, I have posted my frustration in Bruce Arians play calling. However, if this is the creativity that Coach Arians is going to show for the remainder of the season and moving forward, I hope he remains our OC for as long as he wants. My issue and I would guess any Steeler fans issues are not in Bruce Arians, the man, it has been play calling. All I can say is: Thank you Coach Arians, with your play calling and the players execution, there is no reason that the Pittsburgh Steelers won't be playing in February. We have a lot of football ahead of us and it is WAY too early to declare any team the best or a locks to make it to the playoffs, but it isn't too early to improve and to look forward to the next game....Thank you Coach Arians for calling a great game and for the Steelers Offense and Defense for executing the game plans. And of course, Dick Lebeau was brilliant again and Coach Tomlin exuded confidence.
Next up.....the Baltimore Ravens in the Steel City.