Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sleeping Giant Stirs Players Hope to Get Momentum from 40-Point Explosion

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sleeping Giant Stirs Players Hope to Get Momentum from 40-Point Explosion

Article excerpt

The Steelers not only blew past 30 points for the first time this season in their most recent game, they did not stop there.

It begs the question: Was their 40-17 throttling of the Tennessee Titans a sign of things to come, an unleashing of an offense that has spent much of the season inside the barn?

"I hope so," Ben Roethlisberger said after a rare Monday practice. "I know everyone's talking about we feel we have potential, we're on the verge. I agree."

So did his center.

"I really hope so because we've got the talent to do it," Maurkice Pouncey said.

Even after scoring four touchdowns and four field goals, the Steelers believe they have not hit their stride yet on offense.

"None of us have seen it yet, have we? I mean, let's be real," Pouncey said.

They also have not struck the kind of balance that is their weekly goal. Only three times in 10 games have they really reached that balance between the run and pass - against Baltimore, Kansas City and Cincinnati, all victories. Against the Titans, the Steelers had 284 net yards passing and just 65 rushing. They have topped 105 yards rushing as a team just three times this season.

The good news for them is they believe their offense is improving and that they can be lethal both on the ground and through the air.

"One hundred percent," Pouncey said. "We're hitting it right, right now. We're having fewer mistakes. We all want the games to be perfect, go out there and have a great rush game and a great pass game and everything works. We're working on it."

Cam Heyward has seen his defense improve steadily, not just over the past few seasons but during this one, and says the offense can be the force it was expected to be.

"Yes, hands down. They're just getting better week-in and week-out; everybody's getting better. This offense is damn well capable of playing with anybody."

They will get that chance, if not before, then when they play New England Dec. 17 at Heinz Field. The Patriots picked apart Oakland, 33-8, Sunday to tie the Steelers at 8-2 for the best record in the AFC. It was the fifth time New England topped 30 points this season. …

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