Do the Steelers want to be conservative or creative on offense?

By Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Football

Ben Roethlisberger had many reasons to resume his career at the age of 38 after shredding elbow ligaments in his right arm last season. One of his more popular responses has been to play with this Steelers defense, which he believes is one of the best he's ever seen with the Steelers.

And Roethlisberger has played with many great ones over his 17-year career, including two of the franchise's best ever in 2005 and 2008 when the Steelers won their fifth and sixth Lombardi trophies.

So what's the perfect offense to complement such a great defense?

"We always talk about being there for each other," Roethlisberger said Wednesday morning. "The defense was there for us this week when we needed them to be, and it's probably not going to be the last time. There are going to be weeks when, offensively, we struggle whether that's because we're just not playing well, or the defenses are stopping us. We're going to need the defense to step up and make plays for us.

"And there are going to be weeks when the defense maybe struggles because they're playing a really good offense, and the offense has to step up. That's what makes teams special. They step up for each other and they complement each other."

The offense through two games has been a mixed bag. The Steelers struggled to run the ball for much of the game against the Broncos and went 2 for 12 on third downs, but relied on a few big plays to score some important and timely touchdowns. The victory over the Giants in the opener was similarly spotty with ups and downs throughout the contest.


The inconsistent play has the Steelers smack dab in the middle of the NFL's offensive rankings. They are 14th in total offense, rushing offense and scoring. And they are 10th in passing.

Not good, not bad, just average.

"Offensively, we haven't really hit our stride yet," Roethlisberger said. "And that's OK. As long as we're winning football games, that's the most important thing."

Teams with great defenses don't need great offenses to complement them. The 2008 Steelers are probably the best example of that. They were 23rd in rushing, 22nd in total offense, 20th in scoring and 17th in passing. Yet, behind a legendary defense, they won Super Bowl XLIII.


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