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Steelers Film Room: The evolution of the Steelers offense

The Pittsburgh Steelers finally seem to have become the dynamic offense that so many of us have been waiting for so long to see.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of points to make at the beginning of this Steelers Film Room piece.  First, as bad as the defense was against the Cleveland Browns during the second half last week, it wasn't as bad as the offense during Week 1 last year. I point this out because the Steelers' defense is going to get better as the season progresses. It might not be the '76 Steelers, but it will get better.

Second, people are talking about the offense carrying the defense as if that's a bad thing. The rules in today's NFL simply dictate that it's easier to win with a great offense and a mediocre defense than with a great defense and a mediocre offense. Moreover, the offense can help a defense by limiting the opponent's possessions (the Browns had one possession and one down in their second possession in the first quarter) and by getting the opponent out of their game plan by scoring.

Third, give some credit to the Browns. They didn't run a no-huddle offense. They didn't run a hurry-up offense. They ran an extreme, up-tempo, snap-the-ball-as-soon-as-it-is-spotted offense. To use a military analogy, it was, literally, a blitzkrieg.

And it worked.

Initially, I was upset that the Steelers didn't call a timeout (like a coach in basketball) when things started rolling for the Browns. But in hindsight, the Steelers needed those timeouts at the end of the game.

Do I expect the Ravens to mimic what the Browns did? Not really. To operate at that pace isn't easy to do. And when your offense is predicated on doing certain things pre- and post-snap, it's hard to throw all of that out the window and say, we are going to run these three plays as fast as we can.

So, with all of that being said, let's get back to looking at some of the great things the Steelers' offense did in Sunday's game.

Notice the flare to Dri Archer also.  The design of the play really has the defense in a bind. Don't be surprised to see the Steelers fake the screen one way and throw the flare to Archer. I honestly don't know why it has taken the Steelers this long to run these. With the athletes that we have on the offensive line, it just makes sense.

Yeah, you might have heard that Marcus Wheaton had a pretty good game. This is just a great route by Wheaton and a great read by Ben Roethlisberger.

Ok, on to the defensive woes.  As I mentioned, what really seemed to have hurt the Steelers was tempo. Mike Tomlin alluded to this when he kept stressing "communication" errors. No doubt. The Steelers weren't even set during some of these runs. You can see on this play it's obvious they didn't line up correctly.

Watch how tentatively both Troy Polamalu and Cortez Allen play this. The Steelers are clearly on their heels. That's what tempo does to you. With that being said, Polamalu, Allen, and Lawrence Timmons have to play this much better. Simply, they have to get off of blocks and make the tackle. Troy should drive this receiver back into the running back. Allen should do something, anything, besides what he's doing here. Timmons has to attack this play with a lot more force downhill, as opposed to getting pushed over. As has been stated, the Steelers are playing on their heels and they're playing tentatively. Luckily, the Steelers were able to finally make some plays on the last drive to set up the game-winning field goal.