|Parker, Steelers need another Seattle-like day running the ball|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 04 October 2007 12:08|
Steelers left guard Alan Faneca pulls to his right along the line of scrimmage, creates a big hole where the right tackle usually lines up and Willie Parker runs through it, not stopping until he dives into the end zone on a 75-yard run.
Far down the field, Faneca, center Jeff Hartings and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger share a group hug as they celebrate the touchdown that puts the Steelers up 14-3 and gives them the momentum needed to go on to a 21-10 win.
Think Seattle's Marcus Trufant hasn't seen that run endlessly? Lofa Tatupu? Leroy Hill? Rocky Bernard? Chuck Darby? Think they won't be remembering it when the Seahawks play in Pittsburgh on Sunday?
``I'll have a flashback on that game, yeah,'' coach Mike Holmgren said when asked if he has mentally replayed that Super Bowl and the mistakes his team made.
But the Steelers made enough errors in their own running game during a 21-14 loss Sunday to Arizona that Parker didn't resemble the running back who broke off that big run against Seattle.
After having four consecutive 100-yard games dating to last season, Parker was limited to 37 yards on 19 carries - with 20 yards coming on a single run - and Pittsburgh was held to a season-low 77 yards rushing. Parker had been the NFL's leading rusher through three games, averaging nearly 123 yards.
``You've got to get your face back,'' Parker said of getting the run game going again. ``Last game we didn't do the little things. It was real frustrating for me, but I had to keep my cool because I am a team player and we all make mistakes.''
The Steelers (3-1) also had a succession of false-start penalties and missed opportunities on early downs in the passing game that led to a number of third-and-long situations where they couldn't run.
It didn't help they played without wide receiver Hines Ward (knee), who excels at run blocking. Ward still doesn't know if he'll be ready Sunday.
``He's a leader, he's a competitor, he's a blocker, he's a catcher,'' Roethlisberger said. ``He means so much to this offense. I'm hoping he'll be back.''
Ward also is the Steelers' best possession receiver, and they badly missed his ability to make the medium-range catches that keep drives going and open up the running game.
``I wouldn't characterize our inability to block as the biggest issue with our running game,'' coach Mike Tomlin said. ``We weren't able to establish a rhythm in the running game with the penalties, botched exchanges, etc. We missed a couple of big-play opportunities.''
The Steelers understand the importance of being able to run against the Seahawks. Seattle allows an average of 103.8 yards per game rushing, but gave up 128 yards to Arizona's Edgerrin James in their only loss, 23-20 to the Cardinals on Sept. 16.
``We've got to execute a little better,'' right tackle Willie Colon said. ``I think everybody knows that. We have to be a little better. We have to redeem ourselves Sunday.''
Whether he plays or not, Ward is certain the offense will bounce back against Seattle.
``Nobody can stop Willie,'' Ward said. ``We had one disappointing game where we didn't execute it like we wanted but we still have it in our repertoire. I told you, don't expect us to be throwing 40 times a game. We're still going to be running. And we still have Willie and, like coach (Tomlin) said, we're going to run him until the wheels come off.''