Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
Pass offense finally explodes for Steelers
It took 10 games, but it finally happened for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They scored 30 points in a game for the first time this season. In fact, they hung 40 on the Tennessee Titans.
That might not seem like a big deal, but for the Steelers it ended a string of frustrating offensive performances. They entered the game 20th in the NFL in scoring, and the hope is the Thursday night outburst will be a harbinger of things to come.
"Hopefully, this is kind of the start," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said.
The 40-17 victory vaulted the Steelers to 8-2, the best record in the AFC. The Patriots will try to keep pace Sunday when they play Oakland in Mexico City.
The Titans had a hard time keeping pace with a fast-paced Steelers offense that utilized the no-huddle early and maintained an attacking mentality against their secondary throughout the contest. Roethlisberger was 30-for-45 for 299 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
"Hopefully," head coach Mike Tomlin said, "it's a catalyst for us moving forward."
As for the pass-heavy game plan, the Steelers were well-versed in how it looked. In fact, they watched for many years when opposing teams with elite quarterbacks used pass-heavy schemes against their old defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
LeBeau now coordinates the Titans defense, and the Steelers took notes all those years.
"We are just trying to do what it takes to be successful," Tomlin said. "We talk all the time about big picture. We need to be a team that is well-balanced, a team that is capable of running it on anyone, a team that is capable of passing on anyone. At different points here in recent weeks, I've seen us run it and run it extremely successful. (Thursday night), you saw us throw it. We were very thoughtful about our approach in terms of being able to attack people in different ways because we realized the challenges that lie ahead we have to be able to do a lot of things. So the potential for that balance is big for us."
The question now is whether the Steelers can keep it up over the final six games of the regular season and the playoffs. Many of them are of the opinion that Thursday night was the beginning of something.
"It shows how good our team can actually be," running back Le'Veon Bell said. "We made a statement tonight."
Added wide receiver Antonio Brown, "It did feel great to show what we're capable of and put up 40 points."