Time for Steelers' Offense to Deliver

An old-fashioned Texas shootout is looming this weekend for the Steelers and SCI's Mike Prisuta believes Ben Roethlisberger when he says they'll be ready.

Offensive records are being set and double-digit leads are being overcome this season, seemingly on a weekly basis.

It's about the pass and about running well enough to get the defense to respect play-action often enough to make passing even easier in today's NFL.

That being the case, Ben Roethlisberger was asked on Wednesday how the Steelers would fare if they happen to find themselves needing to score in the high 30s or overcome a double-digit deficit to win a game?

"We'll be ready," Roethlisberger said.

They weren't in Baltimore.

They'll need to be in Houston.

The Texans are that good offensively. And while that doesn't make them unbeatable, as the Texans discovered last Sunday in New Orleans, it makes them a handful for any defense.

They'll be at least that against the Steelers.

Houston will be that because of Matt Schaub and because of Andre Johnson, perhaps the best wide receiver in the NFL and a "grown-ass man" in the estimation of Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor. The Texans will be that because of tight end Owen Daniels and fullback/tight end freak James Casey, because they can pound the ball with Ben Tate and Arian Foster this Sunday, and because their offensive line has usurped Denver's as the cut/chop-blocking champions of the trenches.

The Steelers' offense needs to be aware of all of the above and take the field with a clear understanding that even if Troy is once again Troy and James Harrison isn't sandbagging, the Texans are going to do some damage and the Steelers will have to respond in kind.

Just as the idea last Sunday night was to not give the Colts anything cheap (that was the idea for a quarter and a half, at least), the plan this time must be to survive a shootout, to match the Texans score for score and then find a way to get at least one more.

That's been the long-range plan all along, for the offense to develop and mature and become the type of unit that can explode on teams and keep pace, if necessary, with the likes of the Tom Brady Patriots, the Aaron Rodgers Packers and the Drew Brees Saints.

The most anticipated of such tests figured to coincide with the arrival of Brady and the Patriots on Oct. 30 at Heinz Field. But with the way the Texans have opened the season, and with the way the Steelers' offense has teased much more than it has realized its potential in the early going, this weekend's trip to the Lone Star state suddenly has more of an uncomfortable/urgent feel to it than initially perceived.

There have already been enough turnovers and injuries along the offensive line and miscommunications by the Steelers to suggest they're not yet ready to do what they'll need to do in Houston. But Roethlisberger remains as confident as ever in spite of all of the above, and he sounded very much on Wednesday like a guy who wouldn't mind trading touchdowns on Sunday.

"I've always thought with this offense the sky's the limit for us," he said. "We just have to get on the plane."


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