Steelers Continue to Search for Answers on Offense as Playoffs Near

Sunday the conditions at Heinz Field were made for defenses, and clearly the Steelers took advantage of it in their latest win to get to 10-3 on the year, beating the Bengals 23-7.

But as the season progresses, and the Steelers continue to tweak travel plans for hopefully three playoff games including one in Dallas, the offense at some point is going to need to find a way to crack the end zone.

The past two weeks the offense has crossed the goal line just once, and yes, it was a big one time, the TD pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Issac Redman that was the game winner vs the Ravens in the teams 13-10 win last Sunday night.

Sunday they had solid drives most of the second half after a slow start, but bogged down in the red zone, and at one point they had a drive that lasted over 9 minutes and they could not score.

It’s a concern, but one that comes with a win, so it feels just a little less stinging than one that comes in a setback.

“It was a nasty day outside. We started out pretty slow, but we were getting some big plays,” WR Mike Wallace said. “We just weren’t scoring touchdowns. We were getting down there. We just have to finish drives. That’s our biggest problem. We don’t really ever have a problem moving the ball. It’s just finishing drives. We have to score when we get to the red zone.”

Sunday they had drives that covered 13, 10 and 15 plays, yet scored just six points in the course of the three drives, the one that was 15 plays covered 50 yards and ended in a punt.

“I felt like we did some good things offensively like we possessed the ball. I don’t know what the time [of possession] was, but it had to be pretty good,” Roethlisberger said. “I think one drive, we might have gone about 140 yards because we kept going and backwards and going backwards. And those things feel good. But it’s not good enough because we have to score points. Field goals aren’t good enough. Luckily our defense bailed us out.”

That they did. They had two pick six’s, one from Troy Polamalu and the other from LB LaMarr Woodley. So while the offense was able to keep the Bengals off the field with long drives, the defense came up with the big plays that saw the Steelers finally cross the goal-line.

“Our defense is just something else. Troy [Polamalu] and I always talk before the last couple of games. I tell him to do something magical and he tells me to do something magical. Troy always does it,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s something special, that whole unit, LaMarr Woodley. It’s funny because Larry Foote and I were talking right around the beginning of the fourth quarter and he said, “Can you say AFC defensive player of the week.” And he was all about Woodley. So I said, well what about Troy? Then he got that second pick, and I looked at Foote and he said, “co-defensive players of the week.”

Now with three games to go before the team has to start their second season, they have to find ways to get the offense going again. Could trick plays be in the forecast? Or is it just as simple as execution? That’s up to the players and coaching staff, who have to figure it out before they get to a point in a game where they are not getting those defensive touchdowns.

“We’re a team; we’ll get it right,” Wallace said. “Some games, we do really good in the red zone. Some games we don’t. I feel like this just wasn’t a game where we did well in the red zone. The next game we’ll be looking to capitalize when we get down there.”

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