NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Things We Learned from Week 6

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5 Things We Learned from Week 6

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Through their first four games of the season, we’ve all learned that the Pittsburgh Steelers were light years behind where they intended to be when the team reached their Week 5 bye. Now, all of Steeler Nation, and the rest of the NFL, has learned that the Steelers are actually capable of winning a game.

Pittsburgh regrouped after their 0-4 start to the regular season and earned their first victory of the year by beating the New York Jets by the score of 19-6. The Steelers’ defense looked to be back to its old dominant self by holding the Jets’ ground attack under 100 yards, and coming away with two interceptions (the defense’s first turnovers of the season).

Offensively, the front five still need some significant work. However, the passing game was effective, and Pittsburgh committed zero turnovers for the first time this year.

Among all of the aforementioned things that were learned, probably the most important is that even with only one win so far, the Steelers are still in the thick of things in the AFC North. The first-place Cincinnati Bengals have a three-game lead over Pittsburgh, while the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns are tied for second in the division with 3-3 records.

Seeing how the Steelers have turned things around, and considering the fact that there are 11 more weeks in the regular season, a shift of power in the AFC North is highly possible.

Even with all of these new things that have been brought to the attention of the Steeler faithful, there are five more things that were learned after Pittsburgh’s first win of the season.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+

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5. Running Game Still Stuck in Neutral

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Along with the performance of the offensive line, Pittsburgh’s running game didn’t improve, and shows that it still needs more work. The Steelers’ running backs carried the ball a total of 24 time for only 62 yards (which is 2.6 yards per carry). The offense even relied on eight screen passes to wide receivers and tight ends to compensate for the lack of production on the ground.

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4. Coaching Staff Used Bye Week Wisely

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No one knew exactly how the Steelers’ coaching staff was going to approach the team’s bye week after their 0-4 start. Head coach Mike Tomlin stated that he would make the necessary moves to get the team back on track, and apparently, those moves worked.

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3. Heath Miller Seems to Be Close to Pro Bowl Form

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Tight end Heath Miller retuned to the field of play in Week 3, and has steadily improved game by game. Miller’s receiving yards over the past three games have increased from 35 to 70 to 84. The nine-year veteran seems to be fully recovered from his offseason reconstructive knee surgery, and could be headed back to Hawaii at the pace he’s going.

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2. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders Could Be One of the League’s Best Receiving Duos

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Through the first six weeks of the season, wide receiver Antonio Brown is seventh in the league in receiving yards, and is on track to have over 1,000 yards on the year. Fellow receiver Emmanuel Sanders is on pace for a career season of his own. With another big game, Sanders will be poised to have a 1,000-yard season as well. Brown and Sanders could be the first receiving duo the both have 1,000 yards each since Brown and Mike Wallace accomplished the feat in 2011.

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1. Pass Rush Has Finally Shown Up

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

In their first four games of the season, the Steelers’ defense managed to record only four sacks. Against the Jets, they almost matched that total, and came away with three. Linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Jason Worilds each had a sack, while defensive end Ziggy Hood chipped in with one of his own. Although rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones came up empty in the sack department, the pressure he put on Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith late in the fourth quarter resulted in the game-clinching interception by fellow linebacker Lawrence Timmons.