In 2006, we did what we usually do against the Cleveland Browns: we beat them twice. But, in our first matchup at Cleveland, we abandoned the run - like we did too often last year - and relied on Big Ben to try to beat opponents through the air. It worked, but just barely. We needed some rare, late-game heroics from Roeth to get the job done.
In our second matchup, we dominated the line of scrimmage and absolutely pummeled the Browns behind Willie Parker's record-setting performance. Parker finished the evening with 223 yards on 32 carries - a shade under 7 yards per rushing attempt. Considering Parker's longest run that day was for 39 yards, it was an extremely impressive display of dominance by our offensive line. Let's take a look back at that evening:
Parker got off to a decent, although not spectacular start in the first quarter. He tallied 33 yards on 8 carries. We demonstrated solid balance that quarter, but there wasn't necessarily any indication that we were about to witness Steelers' history that evening.
In fact, it wasn't until the 3rd quarter that Willie Parker really went off. Let's take a look at the Steelers' opening drive of the second half:
Pittsburgh Steelers at 13:01 CLE PIT
1st and 10 at PIT 9 (13:01) W.Parker up the middle to PIT 25 for 16 yards (K.Wimbley, B.Pool).
1st and 10 at PIT 25 (12:24) W.Parker right tackle to PIT 32 for 7 yards (W.McGinest).
2nd and 3 at PIT 32 (11:41) W.Parker left tackle to PIT 42 for 10 yards (D.Holly).
1st and 10 at PIT 42 (10:57) W.Parker left guard to PIT 42 for no gain (A.Davis, D.Jackson).
2nd and 10 at PIT 42 (10:18) W.Parker right guard to PIT 45 for 3 yards (T.Washington).
3rd and 7 at PIT 45 (9:36) (Shotgun) B.Roethlisberger pass short middle to S.Holmes to CLV 32 for 23 yards (D.Holly).
1st and 10 at CLV 32 (9:36) W.Parker right end to CLV 28 for 4 yards (B.Pool).
2nd and 6 at CLV 28 (8:21) B.Roethlisberger scrambles right end ran ob at CLV 25 for 3 yards (S.Fraser).
3rd and 3 at CLV 25 (7:50) B.Roethlisberger pass short middle to J.Tuman to CLV 7 for 18 yards (S.Jones).
1st and 7 at CLV 7 (7:01) W.Parker right guard to CLV 4 for 3 yards (S.Fraser; D.Jackson).
2nd and 4 at CLV 4 (6:21) W.Parker right guard to CLV 2 for 2 yards (L.Bodden; S.Jones).
3rd and 2 at CLV 2 (5:38) B.Roethlisberger left end for 2 yards, TOUCHDOWN. 0 16
J.Reed extra point is GOOD, Center-G.Warren, Holder-C.Gardocki.
43 yards on 8 carries. 17-0 and the game was all but over. But Fast Willie Parker wasn't done.
On the Steelers' ensuing possesion - following yet another feeble Browns drive - Parker broke off his 39 yard carry, followed by an 11-yarder, and then finally a 3-yard TD score. 24-0 Steelers.
When the Steelers got the ball back, Parker picked up 3 yards - enough to eclipse the single-game rushing record for a Steelers' RB. That happened on the very first play of the 4th quarter. The crazy thing is Parker didn't see the field for the rest of the game. A single-game rushing record in just three quarters of play basically. Impressive, very impressive.
Here's hoping Willie and our offensive line has a similarly dominant game this Sunday.