Run it, throw it, it all can work

Is Mike Prisuta coming around to the run game? Well, he likes the balance the Steelers struck upon Ben Roethlisberger's return.

After further review, that was the offense.

What it could be.

What it should be.

My initial response in the wake of Steelers 28, Browns 10 was that the Steelers had been a little too conservative, even given Ben Roethlisberger's obvious circumstances and potential limitations. And my initial suspicion was that conservative approach had helped prevent the Steelers from achieving separation faster and really getting after Colt McCoy.

But in retrospect I'm guessing they've stumbled upon something, and that the offense you saw against the Browns will be seen and heard from again.

That separation the Steelers sought was there for the taking had the passing game been a little more efficient a little earlier.

But Roethlisberger threw an early interception and missed another should-have-been-TD late (had either Matt Spaeth or Mike Wallace but missed them both). That contributed mightily to the Browns hanging around as long as they did.

So did a better-than-anticipated display of poise, recognition and accuracy from McCoy.

But that doesn't mean the Steelers didn't approach it the right way.

They still took their shots, as evidenced by a 1st-and-10 from the 4-yard line that produced a 50-yard gain for Mike Wallace. They still lined up "empty" and had success in what has previously been perceived as an invitation for the defense to blitz and blow something up.

This time the empty backfield produced a 26-yard pass interference penalty on a ball that was thrown to Antwaan Randle El against single-coverage, a 22-yard completion to Emmanuel Sanders on third-and-13, and a 29-yard touchdown pass to Wallace that was thrown against single-coverage (since it was Eric Wright covering it should actually be considered zero-coverage).

But the Steelers also controlled clock and tempo and set a tone and did most everything else the running game is supposed to do including score a rushing touchdown, something that hadn't yet been done against the Browns.

Just as they used their weapons through the air, Wallace and Hines Ward and Heath Miller, they also relied on Rashard Mendenhall and their offensive line.

Mendenhall and the O-line are weapons, too, and should be regarded as such even when the quarterback isn't suspended.

And here's the real kicker, the Steelers think they can run the ball much better than they ran it against Cleveland.

"There were a couple times I don't think we were happy with getting a yard on first down, a yard on second down and putting ourselves in 3rd-and-long," Roethlisberger said. "A lot of the times we stopped ourselves. We had some missed assignments or miscommunication, just little things here and there that kind of stopped us on some drives."

So, to summarize, they could have passed it better and they could have run it better and still they wound up converting 50 percent of their third downs and scoring 28 points.

Can't wait to see what happens when everything really clicks in.

That it didn't quite work out that way against Cleveland had more to do with the overall execution than it did the play-calling or the overall philosophy of an offense that might be poised to become as multi-dimensional as it needs to be from week to week.

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