When a team is able to achieve balance in its offense it makes them very difficult to defend in the NFL. The Pittsburgh Steelers are very hard to stop when they have this type of balance. This weekend it was on full display and it makes picking the one offensive player who stood out a tough call. But here we go.
On offense it’s sort of a broken record, but once again quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and tight end Heath Miller were on the same page and doing damage. Both of these guys are really hitting their strides, and for Miller, he’s having what could turn out to be his best season yet. Roethlisberger stood back there and without any pressure just picked the Redskins apart. But neither of these guys is my winner this week.
Another player that many might not think of that should get consideration is rookie starting right tackle Mike Adams. Last week in his first start the Steelers gave Adams lots of help on his side with either a tight end or a back, but this weekend they cut him loose a little more and I thought he played a tremendous game.
I’ve been preaching about drafting a tackle early in 2013, but Adams play this past week has quieted me down for at least a few days. I point specifically to the long run by running back Chris Rainey in the third quarter. It was 3rd down and 3, and a direct snap to Rainey right off right tackle and Adams was working down field making plays to spring Rainey for 19 yards.
But as great as Adams was, it really can only be one guy, right? Running back Jonathan Dwyer has emerged as this team’s top running back, and he showed again this week with his 2nd 100 yard rushing performance in as many weeks that he’s ready to shoulder more of the load in the run game. He only had 17 carries, but it seemed like many more as his carries were so emphatic and physical it really got your attention.
But as much as Dwyer impressed in the run game, the little things he did like pass protection show me that he’s earning the trust of the staff and with that confidence will come more carries. The biggest mistake the Steelers could make next week is to not start him in favor of a nearly healthy Isaac Redman. I’ll cover this in greater detail in another column later in the week, but for now, the Steelers must stick with the hot hand so to speak and that’s Dwyer and that’s why he’s my offensive player of the week.
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