PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — The Steelers ate up ten minutes of clock, relying partly on yeoman’s work from Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer, to clinch a 27-10 win over the New York Jets at Heinz Field Sunday, but head coach Mike Tomlin says his team still hasn’t made the most of its backfield.
“We haven’t run the ball as well as I would like, but I will not assign individual blame for that,” said Tomlin Tuesday during his weekly press conference on the South Side. “I’ll take responsibility for it, but the reality is, we’ve got room for growth. I think, in the long term, we seek balance on offense, to possess the ball.”
On Sunday 47% of the plays executed by the Steelers’ offense were runs, but Redman only managed 25 total yards on 12 carries along with his touchdown, while Dwyer settled for 28 on 12 attempts of his own. Most of that aggregate yardage came on the long scoring drive.
“We’ve got to get better on first-and-10, second-and-medium. We’ve got to block better, and put the ball where it needs to be more consistently,” he added.
Tomlin said Dwyer would be limited in practice this week due to turf toe as the Steelers (1-1) prepare to meet the rival Raiders (0-2) at Oakland Coliseum Sunday. Meanwhile, fellow running back Rashard Mendenhall is progressing, though Tomlin will take a wait-and-see approach to the status of Mendenhall, linebacker James Harrison, and safety Troy Polamalu for Week 3, and said the bye in Week 4 will not affect any decisions.
The Raiders have allowed 295 yards on the ground in two losses, putting them in the bottom five of the league in terms of run defense, but Tomlin respects Oakland’s defensive front.
“Richard Seymour is a perennial All-Pro player, and has been for a long time. His partner, Tommy Kelly, is another enormous man who’s very athletic,” Tomlin noted. “They’re tough to move, they collapse pockets, and their ends, Lamarr Houston and [Matt] Shaughnessy, are high-motor guys.”
Given last year’s red-zone woes, and given the fact that, once again, only two games are in the books, Tomlin will take points however they come for now.
“I think it’s dangerous to look for those type of things at this juncture,” Tomlin said when asked about the play selection in Week 2. “We intend to strike a balance, but it’s probably a little early for us to paint with a broad brush.”
Kickoff between the Steelers and Raiders is set for 4:25 Sunday on KDKA-TV, with CBS Sports’ Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts on the call.