In yesterday’s victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers fans not only left Heinz Field happy with a win coming in the final seconds, but also left knowing that the Steelers finally have their running game in place.
Running back Rashard Mendenhall made his 2012 regular season debut Sunday afternoon, and certainly made it clear to Steeler Nation that he has fully recovered from reconstructive knee surgery, and that he is ready to pick up where he left off last season.
Mendenhall last played in the 2011 regular season finale, when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament. A vigorous rehabilitation regimen, a move to hold him out of the first three weeks of the regular season appears to have paid off handsomely for Pittsburgh’s offense.
The Steelers ground attack finished with a season-high 136 yards versus the Eagles; in comparison, the team only mustered 195 rushing yards in the first three games.
In just one game, despite a not-so-perfect performance by the offensive line, Mendy gained 81 yards on just 14 carries and scored the Steelers’ only touchdown. With that, Mendenhall has already become Pittsburgh’s second-leading rusher of the season.
It’s safe to say the Mendenhall has permanently supplanted Isaac Redman as the starting running back for the rest of the season, and it is evident that Mendy has taken his first step in proving to the Steelers organization that he is worth re-signing at the end of this season, when he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.
Sunday’s win was something that Pittsburgh desperately needed. With the help of Mendenhall, the Steelers avoided starting the season with a 1-3 record – something that has never occurred under head coach Mike Tomlin.
Up next for Mendy and the Steelers is a Thursday night matchup with the Tennessee Titans, meaning that there will be a very short week of rest and preparation. Look for Mendenhall and his fresh legs to take over once again for the Steelers.
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