Parker Lost But Offense Finds Its Way

Willie Parker entered the game tops in the league in carries but it only took him one against the Rams to sideline him for the season.

Parker's fractured fibula marred what was otherwise a stellar game for the offense, in which Ben Roethlisberger put up his NFL record-tying third perfect passer rating of his career and Najeh Davenport put up 123 yards on a career-high 24 carries. Davenport and Carey Davis will likely be joined by Gary Russell as the only backs remaining on the roster going forward. Najeh ground it out well today, even doing what Willie had struggled to do: score touchdowns.

Santonio Holmes was a huge catalyst for Ben's big day, hauling in four catches for 133 yards, including an 83-yard catch on the Steelers' first offensive play. Nate Washington somehow put together his second multiple TD game of the season, scoring his second and third TDs in the last two games.

The defense still looked overmatched against the running game, giving up 85 yards on 12 carries to Steven Jackson. Meanwhile, Marc Bulger was only sacked once and under little pressure under the Steelers had amassed a two-score lead late in the game, all against a patchwork Rams' line. Deshea Washington, though getting beat for the Rams' last touchdown, played well down the stretch, applying a critical pressure on Bulger and breaking up several passes before Ike Taylor took a pick to the house.

Pittsburgh's blockers gave up another four sacks, having Ben be one of the many Steelers looking banged up by the end of the game. At one point, he, Najeh and Silverback were being attended to on the sideline. The durability issues have to be a concern for Davenport, with 24 carries being a career high and already seemingly wearing him down.

With the defense still reeling from the loss of Aaron Smith, now the offense must retool its own approach with Willie going down. The Steelers are now only a win over the Ravens away from taking the division, but find themselves with critical gaps on both sides of the ball.


peytonloveskenny said...

Well if the line isn't going to block you might as well have somebody who can knock people over.

Hooks Orpik said...

After Willie went down the gin came out and I went to Blackout City.

My friends watching the game with me (non-Steelers fans) tell me that although I was bummed out, I was genuinely happy with the fact this might mean that good old Verron Haynes could be coming back.

The Steelers worked him out one day, I believe after Kreider was lost for the year.

I do like Haynes but they say he was like Farve to my Peter King last night. That's frightening.

Christmas Ape said...

I find it funny how much the pundits have droned on about the Steelers losing their "home run threat." Yes, I'll miss Willie, but if anyone is a big play maker in the offense, it's Santonio. Parker's longest carry of the season was 32 yards. Najeh scored as many TDs last night, albeit against the Rams, as Parker has all year.

Bert in Hershey said...

peter king is a douchebag!! f him!

Maybe Ben is taking his O-line to the Pro bowl to show them how blocking is supposed to be done.

MDultrarunner said...

I missed the entire first half because I was on a plane. Tuned in around halftime and heard the news about FWP. Nearly cried when they came on in the 3rd quarter and said he had the fractured fibula. I think I'm still in phase one of that 12-step coping program, cause I woke up this morning and actually thought for a second that I had dreamed it.

The O-line couldn't block its way out of a paper bag. I mean, giving up four sacks to the lowly Rams? Man, Ben, if I were you, instead of taking 'em to Honolulu, I'd be giving 'em flaming bags of poo on their front porch.

Well fire up the fireworks, one sack for the defense, against a patchwork O-line consisting of guys who were signed off the Pop Warner squad. And why the hell are the DBs playing 10 yards off the line of scrimmage when it's friggin' 3rd and 10?!? I realize this whole cover-2 crap is to prevent the big play, but can't they disrupt the receivers and throw off their timing? Wouldn't this give the LBs and D-line a better chance of getting to the QB? Give Bulger 5 seconds in the pocket and I don't care how f-ing banged up he is, he's still gonna complete the damn pass.

Spatula said...

We know that the commentators last night are slack-jawed morons, but saying it was "good" that FWP broke his leg so Fred Taylor could go to the Pro Bowl was inexcusable. That they said it at least three times puts them at the top of the douchbag list.