Lolley: Steelers finally opened things up

Ben Roethlisberger implored his teammates at halftime to get their act together. He could just as well have been screaming at offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

The Pittsburgh Steelers gameplan in the first half against the Ravens Monday night was pathetically predictable: run or short pass on first down; run on second down; pass on third and long; punt. Repeat as necessary.

It wasn't until the Steelers opened things up a little bit in the second half - going to a no-huddle - that they found any rhythm in their 23-20 overtime victory.

In the first half – when they managed 46 meager yards – the Steelers allowed the Ravens to dictate things to them. In the second half, it was the Steelers who dictated the pace of the game.

It made a big difference.

© All of the Kendall Simmons bashers will finally get their wish. The right guard is out for the season with an Achilles tendon injury.

Simmons isn't a great player, but he's better than many give him credit for.

And an already shaky offensive line can't afford to be breaking in new starters – not with Jacksonville looming next week.

Second-year man Darnell Stapleton stepped in for Simmons against the Ravens, but the bet here is that Trai Essex will get the start next week in Jacksonville.

There's no need to give a young guy his first career start on the road at Jacksonville when you've got a guy who's been in this kind of situation before.

© An Achilles tendon injury is very difficult to come back from. And given that Simmons is one the few offensive linemen the Steelers have signed for next season, the team's line situation in 2009 got a lot worse.

© If the Steelers played all of their games on Monday nights, James Harrison might lead the league in sacks.

© The Steelers didn't get any interceptions on rookie quarterback Joe Flacco but they had him rattled in the second half.

That's why the Ravens didn't try to score at the end of regulation when they got the ball back with 1:40 to play.

Flacco had already been sacked and fumbled twice inside his own 20 in the second half. The Ravens weren't taking that chance again.

© Lawrence Timmons got his first career sack to end the Ravens' only possession in overtime. He also blew up return man Yamon Figurs on the opening kickoff.

But Timmons was also run over at the goal line by Le'Ron McClain on Baltimore's game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter.

He's more explosive than stout, which gives you some insight into why the coaching staff hasn't been quick to put him into the lineup in place of Larry Foote.

© Mewelde Moore picked a great time to make his first big play for the Steelers. Moore is an outstanding receiver out of the backfield and it's about time the Steelers found a way to use him in that role.

His 24-yard catch-and-run in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal was as good a run as you'll see in the open field.

Rookie linebacker Bruce Davis, a third-round pick, was active for the first time this season but did not play.

Mendenhall's rookie season ends with 19 carries for 58 yards.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.


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