Offense ready to be tested by champs

October 31, 2012 by Teresa Varley

The Steelers offense has continually progressed since week one of the season, and there will be no better test than going against the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

“It’s a good game, a good challenge for us,” said receiver Mike Wallace. “At the same time we are a team that is finding ourselves right now. We are finding ourselves at the right time. It’s a great test to see where we are and go against the defending champs.”

While the Giants have allowed their fair share of yards this season, ranked 24th in total yards allowed per game, they are tied for first in the NFL in takeaways. The Giants have 16 interceptions through eight games, with strong safety Stevie Brown accounting for five of them.

“They give up a lot of yards, but they take the ball away a lot,” said Wallace. “The secondary, when the ball is in the air, they are one of the best in the league in taking it away and creating turnovers.

“They have probably the best defensive front in football. We have to be more precise in what we are doing. You don’t have as much time as you usually do. You have to get the ball out fast, but we are going to work this week and I think we are going to do well.”

The Steelers offense was ranked 25th in the league after two games and over the last five has gradually improved to rank 10th in the NFL. 

“Right now we are clicking on all cylinders,” said receiver Emmanuel Sanders. “It looks really good. Last week I felt like every time we had the ball we had a great opportunity to score. That is what you want as an offensive unit. I feel like we are heading in a positive direction.”

The offense has been referred to as a “dink and dunk” one by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, not in a negative manner, but instead referring to effectively moving the ball downfield with short gains.  

“We have an offense that is working right now and that is all that matters,” said Sanders. “When we go down, no matter how we do it, no matter how we put up points, as long as we get the win it doesn’t matter what the offense is called.”

But, don’t think for a minute the receivers would object to opening things up a bit more and being on the receiving end of some deep pass plays.

“Right now it’s working,” said Sanders. “Whatever we are doing offensively is working. We put up a lot of points last week and we are going to continue to build off of that.

“Hopefully we can put the ball in the air and give me, Mike, Antonio (Brown) and Jerricho (Cotchery) a shot down field, but continue to also get the short passes. I think that can be a strength with our speed and quickness.”

Wallace, who thrives off of the big play, knows if the ball doesn’t go deep, then it’s up to the receivers to make big plays.

“We are winning games so you have to take what you get,” said Wallace. “I always want to go downfield, but we are being effective. We are doing well with the placement of everybody. You have to do what works and what is winning.

“We are not getting the yards per catch, but we are getting opportunities and we just have to take short ones and make them big.”


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