This past weekend the Pittsburgh Steelers took a huge step forward toward returning to the prominence that so many Steelers fans are accustomed to, and so many NFL fans don’t want to see. They were able to travel to The New York Giants, deal with a tremendous amount of upheaval, and win in a dominating fashion everywhere but on the scoreboard.
If that was all you knew, you would probably assume it was a shootout with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger chucking the football all over the field and racking up huge numbers. But that was not the case. The team used timely throws, an incredibly effective third down efficiency, and a power running game to wear down, slow down, and beat down the Giants defense.
So who gets my game ball? I considered offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who put together a really nice game plan for the week to maximize what his offense could do. In my preview I said they would need to run to keep those defensive ends off of Roethlisberger and they did just that. But for as good as Haley’s plan was, it had to be carried out.
I really have two guys that stood out to me head and shoulders above the rest. I do give honorable mention to wide receiver Mike Wallace for his 53 yard touchdown catch and run. He took the ball on a shallow crossing route, and with at least three Giants who had the angle on him, he just turned on the jets, found the corner and coasted up the sidelines for a touchdown. An amazing play few wide outs would even try to make much less be successful.
The two guys I want to discuss are center Maurkice Pouncey and running back Isaac Redman. The Steelers knew going in their running backs were dinged up and Redman was going to be the man. Redman isn’t an elite speed type player or a shifty and quick guy, he’s a put your head down and go kind of back. He runs hard, never stops working his legs, and fights for every inch. The Steelers understood for him to have success he would need to run guard to guard and avoid the quickness on the edge.
Play after play the Steeler went straight up the middle whether it was a straight dive, a trap, or an ISO. Pouncey was amazing making his read, taking his man out of the play and giving Redman the crease he needed to get to the second level where he could deliver some punishment on the smaller defenders. Pouncey always looks outmatched in the middle beacuse of the size differences but he plays with excellent strength and leverage.
Redman finished with 26 carries and 147 yards, most of which came from guard to guard straight over Pouncey. It was a clinic on old school football. I can’t short change what Pouncey did, because without his blocking there’s no way Redman has that game, so for one week I am going to give Co-Offensive players of the week to Pouncey and Redman. They were a power running duo that was too much for the Giants to stop.
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