Balanced Steelers Take Aim on Detroit

The Pittsburgh Steelers are hitting on all cylinders as they prepare for Detroit, including welcoming back injured defensive back Troy Polamalu. More inside.

It won't just be the Steelers vaunted defense threatening Detroit on Sunday. Pittsburgh's offense, which has evolved away from the run game and more toward the pass, may have the kind of balance that could make it a force through the season.

The Steelers ran and passed nearly at will during their win against San Diego and also showed that, given a back who can run the ball well enough, coordinator Bruce Arians has nothing against sticking with the ground game. Rashard Mendenhall ran 29 times for 165 yards and two touchdowns.

The Steelers ran 36 times and passed 34, not counting three sacks of Ben Roethlisberger. Arians had Roethlisberger come out throwing on the first series and turned to the run to close it. On the second series, he had the Steelers running at the start and then passed to close that one out for a 14-0 lead.

"The defense struggles one day, offensively we have to put it on our shoulders to win games," Hines Ward said. "The defense has saved the offense many a year, many games."

If the Steelers can continue to play like that on offense, they might have a better team than they did on way to their Super Bowl XLIII victory.

"We always knew that we had it in us, and we were able to make the plays," Ben Roethlisberger said. Roethlisberger, who has played every snap, has completed 73.2 percent of his passes, far above his career norm and for any full season in his previous five.


  • Even though they are just getting their ground game on track, the Steelers are dominating time of possession through the first quarter of the season. They have had the ball for 34 minutes, 45 seconds on average to 25:15 for their opponents.
  • RB Mewelde Moore caught a TD pass of 19 yards and threw one of 6 on a halfback pass Sunday night. It was his second TD pass of his career. He threw one of 15 yards while playing for the Vikings in 2006.
  • RB Rashard Mendenhall could earn back-to-back starts for the first time in his career after his 29-carry, 165-yard game Sunday night.
  • LB James Harrison, shut out on sacks through the first two games, has three in the past two. He set a Steelers record with 16 last season.
  • WR Hines Ward is off to a fast start with 26 receptions for 355 yards, both tops on the team, but he has yet to score a touchdown.
  • SS Troy Polamalu's goal is to return was this week vs. Detroit. He's been out since the first half of the opener with a sprained MCL.
  • PR Stefan Logan lost a fumble that was returned 41 yards for a touchdown, and his average on 10 punt returns is 7.5 yards.

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